WARNING: This is a bit of a rant.
There are posts about Washington State’s E2SSB 5073 in other portions of this blog. I might (or not) have mentioned it left the legislature and went to the governor’s desk – where she slashed 36 sections and then passed it into law.
The portions she vetoed related to a retail medicinal sales scheme to be operated by the state. She didn’t want to risk state employees going to the federal pokey. The “dispensing” of cannabis in this state is illegal. Period. End of statement.
A section of the bill allowing “collective gardens” remained in place. Here it is:
(1) Qualifying patients may create and participate in collective gardens for the purpose of producing, processing, transporting, and delivering cannabis for medical use subject to the following conditions:
(a) No more than ten qualifying patients may participate in a single collective garden at any time;
(b) A collective garden may contain no more than fifteen plants per patient up to a total of forty-five plants;
(c) A collective garden may contain no more than twenty-four ounces of useable cannabis per patient up to a total of seventy-two ounces of useable cannabis;
(d) A copy of each qualifying patient’s valid documentation or proof of registration with the registry established in *section 901 of this act, including a copy of the patient’s proof of identity, must be available at all times on the premises of the collective garden; and
(e) No useable cannabis from the collective garden is delivered to anyone other than one of the qualifying patients participating in the collective garden.
(2) For purposes of this section, the creation of a “collective garden” means qualifying patients sharing responsibility for acquiring and supplying the resources required to produce and process cannabis for medical use such as, for example, a location for a collective garden; equipment, supplies, and labor necessary to plant, grow, and harvest cannabis; cannabis plants, seeds, and cuttings; and equipment, supplies, and labor necessary for proper construction, plumbing, wiring, and ventilation of a garden of cannabis plants.
(3) A person who knowingly violates a provision of subsection (1) of this section is not entitled to the protections of this chapter.
Yeah, yeah, I know there are entrepreneurs out there who’d like to line their pockets with money from the sales of medicinal cannabis. The section of law above doesn’t appear to make it very viable for that contrivance, in my opinion. So why the moratorium and an outright ban on collectives in this state?
Including my own city.
There has been a moratorium on gardens for over a year now. It was enacted as an emergency. No, I’m not bullshitting you. An emergency.
While in the midst of this emergency the city attorney, planner and planning commission have been busy plotting. Plotting their own backdoor ban on collectives. And you might be asking yourself how they would accomplish that. The answer is simple: Turn nothing more than a collective effort on the part of a few individuals into a business. A business that would be impossible to operate.
Now, go back and read the part above in italics. Keep it in mind as you read what follows.
An activist I’m quite personal with spoke at a recent city zoning commission public meeting. He was kind enough to give me a copy of his presentation. It follows:
Though undoubtedly the following is quite truculent, I’ll ask in the interest of maintaining some semblance of decorum you refrain from interrupting.
The State Legislature’s drafting and passing of Senate Bill 5073 was an attempt at a humanitarian act designed to improve the availability of cannabis, for those authorized individuals using the plant as a last resort treatment for their malady.
What I have here is an atrocity. It appears through deceit and manipulation this city would put the boots to a vulnerable subset of this community. The city claims section .140 gives them the authority to proceed in a backhanded attempt to ban collective gardens.
Pulling back the curtain on .140 Governor Gregoire speaks: “Section 1102 sets forth local governments’ authority pertaining to the production, processing or dispensing of cannabis or cannabis products within their jurisdictions. The provisions in Section 1102 that local governments’ zoning requirements cannot ‘preclude the possibility of sighting licensed dispensers within the jurisdiction’ are without meaning in light of the vetoes of sections providing for such licensed dispensers. It is with this understanding that I approve Section 1102.”
Two things become quite clear with this statement.
1. .140 was intended to give municipalities authority over dispensaries. Not collective gardens.
2. With the veto of 36 sections of 5073 .140 became orphaned. Dispensaries – the business of selling medicinal cannabis – are not legal in this state.
.140 has no standing.
In an attempt to circumvent the legislative process in this state The City would manipulate zoning law declaring a collective garden a business. This is evidenced in the document. I quote:
“Collective gardens shall be closed to any distribution of cannabis between the hours of 8:00 PM and 7:00 AM.”
Are those ‘business’ hours?
“A person who receives wages…”
Companies pay wages, correct?
“No onsite sales of paraphernalia”
In my five years of holding a recommendation I’ve never witnessed one patient selling another paraphernalia. Regardless, ‘sales’ sounds like a business transaction.
And finally, paragraph ‘C’ speaks to visibility and signage. Patients don’t advertise. Companies do.
I have no idea why this city would attempt to intercede in legislative law. Why they would hinder patients supporting one another through association. Could it possibly be fear born of ignorance? I simply can’t fathom the governance of the city purposely harming disabled, injured and sick members of the community. The why of it, I don’t understand.
I do know I will fight this as long as I’m able.
I ask my fellow citizens – nay, I plead – please, oh please stand with me in opposing this most heinous attempt.
In closing I paraphrase the pastor Martin Niemoller:
First they came for the communists
And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the socialists
And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Now you come for me?
(NOTE: section 1102 of the bill was codified as .140 in the law.)
“Yes, that happened right here, to your neighbors.
It is not too much to say that in your hands lies the possibility of adverting other tragedies like it.
We must work untiringly so that our children are obliged to learn the truth. Because it is only through knowledge that we can safely protect them.
Failing this, the next tragedy may be that of your daughter. Or your son.
Or yours. Or yours. or YOURS!
Tell your children.”
(the last scene from Reefer Madness)