Letters, Letters and more Letters

The following is an article that appeared in the local paper last month:


From what I understand the James Kennedy mentioned in the piece has withdrawn his suit for personal reasons. That’s too bad. He might have had a shot at clarifying the situation. Shit happens, I guess.

I know the guy. With his permission I thought I’d make an attempt at clarifying his position. Following is my letter:

“City IDs possible areas for pot collectives.” There it was at the head of the Columbian _Clark County Section_ (10-18-12).  The headline isn’t disingenuous, but if one closely reads the article – is the city’s intent? Industrial zoning, closed between the hours of… no signs or symbols…

Now wait a minute. I was under the impression the purpose of the recently enacted law allowing individuals holding a medical professional’s recommendation for the use of cannabis was nothing more than a mechanism whereby “patients” could legally support one another.

You know, those individuals for whom cannabis is a last-resort treatment for their malady; folks for whom standard procedures didn’t prove effective, the sick, lame, and possibly dying.

And the city would turn that communal effort into a business? And further, a business that couldn’t possibly exist under the proposed unattainable zoning requirements!

Why would my city government purposely deprive a particularly vulnerable sub-set of our community the means to provide a treatment for themselves? I’m at a loss.

Perhaps you would care to ask them? I would encourage you to do so. I can’t seem to be able to get a reasonable answer.

The citizens of the city don’t seem to care if their governing body would prohibit a humanitarian act passed by the state legislature. After all, who gives a fat rat’s about a few pot heads, right?

“First they came for…”


Kicking the Sleeping Dog

I sent this off to the Vancouver City Council moments ago. The wind really did blow the stuff off of my “reference table” (it’s a stool). The truth is though, I’ve been thinking about dropping them a line for a few days now.

The subject of the correspondence was the current cannabis collective garden moratorium.

I should set up a donate button for a bail fund, huh?

Good day Council.
I hope this Monday has found you well.

I was up here in the loft doing a bit of writing (I’m published, you know) and a big breeze came through the window scattering a stack of my reference paperwork. Yeah, it’s a mess up here. The Missus tells me there’s a bit of weather headed this way. I certainly hope so. I do enjoy the thunder and lightning.

Gathering up the clutter I spied “Staff Report 111-11.” That report, and associated documents, would be relevant to the silly moratorium you folks enacted here a while back.

I say “silly” because, frankly, it isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. Still – in the spirit of having good fun – I was wondering how you all are coming along on that work plan? I’m guessing you’re running a touch behind, eh?

I mean, task one is “identifying stake holders and their issues.” Though I must wonder why a school would be listed as a stake holder. Perhaps you have interest in educating adolescents about cannabis? Hey, if you guys can be silly why can’t I join in the fun?

I have identified myself as a stake holder. I have identified myself as a disabled veteran holding a medicinal cannabis recommendation. I have offered to confer with you on the subject. I have offered to meet with not only each and every one of you, but also your advisor Ted Gathe.

Not a peep.

Therefore, I must conclude that Task 1 of the “Work Plan” hasn’t been accomplished.

If I’m reading the material correctly (and I’ll admit this last read was nothing more than a brief scan) your silly moratorium becomes a pumpkin in about 7 working days. You’d best get cracking!

You guys are a riot, I’m tellin’ ya…. Heh, heh, heh.

In Clark County…

Yeah, I know I’ve been ranting on about both the county and city cannabis collective garden moratoriums. I’ve written letters attempting to explain to the municipalities why they are mistaken on not only the law, but the extent of their authority in this particular matter.

I’ve written “Letters to the Editor”  on the subject. I’ve made my case plain, explaining the facts. That’s tough in a LttE. There’s a 200 word limit. Heh.

The other day one of our County Commissioners made a couple of public statements that’ve rankled me a touch. I guess dude didn’t get my memo?

To paraphrase, Commissioner Mielke said the county was going to extend the current moratorium in order to protect county employees from federal prosecution. He also indicated he believed medicinal cannabis to be a sham.

Huh? Pardon me?

Apparently Mr. Mielke didn’t read the letter I mailed (yes, mailed — paper, envelope) to the Board quite some time back. I explained the law to the commissioners in that correspondence. Not what I think the law says, but what it reads.

So I figured I’d give it another shot. I sent the following email to Commissioner Mielke about the 3rd of this month (Saturday):

Commissioner Mielke,

I’m responding to comments you made during an interview on CVTV and later published in The Columbian.

You state the moratorium will continue due to the risk of county employees being prosecuted by the DOJ. I, sir, state that is a red herring.

There is no requirement (nor provision, for that matter) for a garden to be licensed, registered or zoned. Just what involvement, then, would a county employee have in a garden? Zero. Zip. Nada.

You basically say (again, your opinion) that medicinal cannabis is a sham. You state that there are other drugs just as useful. Do I need point out the contradiction in that statement?

Are you aware the synergistic relationship between opioid pain relievers and cannabis has been anecdotally noted since the 1840s? Are you aware of the clinical studies that have proven this. I’m anticipating the results of an animal study performed right here at WSU.

Commissioner, did you know that 100 people a day die in this country from prescription drug overdoses. Or that a drug as seemingly innocuous as acetaminophen can kill? Are you aware there has never been a recorded death from a cannabis overdose, nor organ damage.

As a citizen of this county I feel it is my duty to educate yourself and your fellow commissioners on not only the law, but the efficacy of cannabis.

Toward that end, once again I offer you an open invitation to my home to discuss the matter in further detail.


So what’a’ya think? Somewhat short and to the point… concise? Okay, maybe a bit brash or even arrogant. Still, you get it, right?

I got a reply from the Commissioner the following Monday:


Thank you for the input, my remarks are limited as my knowledge and decision has been based on two friends who indeed have a choice of relief along with a few doctors sharing their knowledge with me.  I believe you are right when you say the State has no provisions in law to even have a garden let alone sell or use.  The BOCC here have contacted the Federal AG’s office and told us that anyone, including a county employee would and could be prosecuted for being involved in distribution of an illegal substance.

Again thanks for sharing with me, I truly appreciate input from the citizens of our County.


So, as I began reading I was thinking, okay, maybe Tom will realize he’s a bit weak on his knowledge of cannabis. Maybe he’ll do some research of his own, but then I kept reading and saw that he totally, I mean totally, missed my statements about the county employees’ involvement in a “garden.”

Shortly after receiving the above, another communique came over:

I just realized after rereading your mail, that I didn’t answer part of your concern.  That part was whether or not we were required to be involved. Yes the Governor and the legislature had passed or mandated that we provide this in Clark County.  And, again at the same time, the DOJ said they would not honor the State over turning the Federal law.

Hope this helps our position,

Shit-oh-dear… What? Am I just screaming into the night here?

Okay, so I figured it was time to call the bet. You know? Show me your cards? So I responded to his “clarification” with this:

Commissioner, can you direct me to where I might find that mandate?

Thank you for responding!

That exchange was on the same Monday. I got nothing back. I waited 48 hours and then fired this off on the morning of the 7th, Wednesday:

Sir, I understand your busy schedule might not have room for finding a copy of the mandate you mention for my review. Though I’d think with an extension of the moratorium on an upcoming agenda you would have the materials near at hand.

Regardless, perhaps someone on the staff would be willing to direct me to where I might find it?


Nothin’. Today’s Sunday the 11th, I got nothin’ back. You and I both know why. The “mandate” the Good Commissioner speaks of does not exist. Man, I can’t help, but sit here and wonder if Tom knows that. Or not.

More Moratorium Crap

So Clark County Washington has decided to extend the current moratorium on “cannabis collective gardens,” as are afforded by Washington law. I mean, the gardens are allowed. The current moratoriums in this state are bullshit.

My local paper, The Columbian, believes the moratoriums are a good idea. Oh, they don’t state the kiddies nor little kittens would be at risk. They’ve concern for county employees.

‘Scuse me? How the heck did county employees get mixed into this mess? Maybe because no one, not even news paper staff, bother to READ THE DAMNED LAW! oops sorry…

Here’s a link to The Columbian editorial:
What are you talking about?

Here’s my reply:
In response to The Columbian’s editorial column titled, Follow Federal Law: Know that cannabis will be a schedule I drug under the CSA just as long as those corporations that stand to lose millions (billions?), should it be rescheduled, have millions to spend to see that it isn’t.

Know that section RCW69.51A.140 of state law does not speak to “collective gardens,” but to dispensing and dispensaries. Under the law there is no requirement for a collective garden to be registered, licensed or zoned. Don’t let the current moratoriums fool you. They have no teeth. The municipalities are taking actions beyond their legal purview.

That being written then, there is no concern for county employees being prosecuted by the Department of Justice. The subject is moot.

What municipalities should be doing is making it clear they will enforce the current state law as  is written. RCW69.51A.085 is quite clear on the definition of a garden. A store front or any other “commercial” interest obviously is not its intent.

Won’t somebody please, oh please, do some research (read the law?!) and mine this mountain back down to a mole hill?

The Columbian has disappointed — being led by the nose…

Man, I really and truly don’t get it.
Cannabis is not the Monster Frankenstein. That propaganda died with Harry Anslinger. Refer Madness is not a documentary. Stop it!

Stop the madness.

Some Peoples’ Kids, Sheesh

So, I was cruising through the local paper the other morning when I came to the opinion page. Granted, it is the opinion page, but when folks spew ignorant statements in a public forum and attempt to cover it with sarcastic humor… well, it chaps my ass. Here’s the Letter to the Editor that rubbed me the wrong way.


Yes, of course I submitted a response:

“According to the Dec. 22 story in The Columbian, “State considers adding ADD, OCD to medical pot list,” the state of Washington is considering legalizing the use of marijuana for anyone who has a medical problem of any kind. For instance, Attention Deficit Disorder or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder would qualify. Other unrelated diseases, such as a “social disorder” and “intractable pain,” also would make the grade.”

This previous paragraph is, almost, wholly false. “Intractable pain” is an acceptable condition, now. “Social disorder” was previously declined. The state of Washington is NOT considering legalizing the use of cannabis for anyone who has a medical problem of any kind.

Sir, I found your letter wholly disingenuous. Further, I can’t help, but wonder your point? The last reference to cannabis being an “ addictive gateway drug,” could give us a hint? Yes, yes it does. –That- hypothesis was debunked some time ago.

Sir, may I recommend you point your favorite search engine to PubMed. Once there, enter THC, CBD and a malady of your choice. Heck, try ADD and OCD!

Please sir, educate yourself.

What the writer of the original letter must not be aware of is, the People of the State of Washington are considering legalizing cannabis… for recreational use.  Heh.

To Senator Patty Murray

Good day, Senator.
An article in the local newspaper, about vets seeking psychiatric help, has me scratching my head. I’m aware you are a staunch supporter of vets and I applaud you for your work.

But you also oppose the medicinal use of cannabis. Is that not true?

Phytocannabinoids’ efficacy in treating PTSD have been anecdotally noted for some time. Recent animal studies at the University of Haifi are proving this out in the laboratory, albeit with a cannabinoid analog.

I’m having trouble with reconciling your support for vets, but yet stifling treatment that could well help them.

So, I thought I’d ask how -you- reconcile the two.

(USN ’76-79)


I love that word. Not only does it sound cool, but it looks pretty neat written. Look up there, doesn’t the “phyt” really jump out at ya? Myself, I think it looks a lot cooler than endocannabinoid. Maybe it’s ‘cuz the “endo” part reminds me of a horrific bicycle incident when I was a child. Bad memories, man…

I read the daily paper every morn. I sit up here and drink coffee and read email, forums, stuff, from awakening to 0700. At 0700 I go below and grab the paper from my porch, plop in my chair and drink more coffee — with my paper.

Along with the “news” there are several columns I read for entertainment value. One such column is Doc Donohue. The good doctor gives advise on corns, shingles, arthritis… You get it. I pulled together the following letter as a prank. Oh, I did mail it. The thing is, it doesn’t really fit the criteria. That is, I’m not asking for advise on what the foam in the toilet, produced from urinating, indicates (yes, it was a readers question). 

I’m thinking my lotto ticket has a better chance of hitting than the letter being published. Here, check it out:

Doc Donohue                                                                                                       11-25-11
PO Bx. 536475
Orlando, Florida, 32853-6475

Good day, Doc!
Hopefully this letter finds you well.

Say, I was wondering of your opinion on the efficacy of phytocannabinoids in the treatment of various maladies. If one does a search on PubMed using cannabis and cancer, pain, MS, or even diabetes one can view many abstracts that indicate phytocannabinoids have promise in the treatment of. The phytocannabinoids are known to be antimitogenic, antiangiogenic and proapototic. These properties make them extremely hopeful in the treatment of cancers, from  gliomas to breast to prostate.

I’ll note that GW Pharmaceuticals currently has a phyto-derivative in FDA phase three trials. Should those trials prove positive Sativex will be licensed for cancer patients whom opiates provide inadequate analgesia.

Do you find these discoveries and applications promising and exciting?

Thank you,

I was out at the picnic table telling a friend about my little prank. He suggested I send the letter to my legislators. I think it’s a lovely idea. In the next few days I’ll be changing the names and mailing them out. Yep, paper, envelope and stamp.

The responses, if any, should prove interesting, eh? What can I say? I’m feeling a bit mischievous, heh!

What a Friggin’ Mess!

I have a couple of other letters here addressing Senate Bill 5073. Now that it’s become law, shit is really getting weird, man. Cities and Counties across Washington State are passing moratorium on the collective gardens made legal by said bill.

I don’t know if I’m flabbergasted more by the hysteria or the ignorance.

Oh, it’s true that entrepreneurs in the northwest part of the state are quickly changing the names of their enterprises from “dispensaries” to “collectives.” How the hell that could be legal I haven’t a clue. But then, dispensaries were never legal.

Anywho… in the interest of education, I wrote a letter to the Vancouver City Council, Attorney, and Clark County Commissioners. Wanna see it? Kay.

Ted Gathe, Vancouver City Attorney                                                                 7-26-11

Vancouver City Council
PO BX 1995
Vancouver Wa. 98668

Clark County Commissioners
PO BX 5000
Vancouver, WA. 98666



RE: Collective Cannabis Garden Moratorium.

Good day. Hopefully this letter has found you well.

There appears to be some confusion surrounding the passage of E2SSB 5073. Undoubtedly a portion of this uncertainty is related to Governor Gregoire’s veto of 36 sections of the bill prior to signing. For instance, section 401 makes reference to section 901 (several sections do, actually). Section 901 had provisions for a patient registry. 901 was vetoed.

I would highly recommend each and every one of you obtain a copy of “5073” and review it yourself. I believe the two sections that are relevant to the moratorium are 403 (collective gardens) and 1102 (zoning, licensing, distribution).

Let’s just toss 1102 right out. Though planning for the possibility of licensed dispensaries in the future might be prudent they are currently illegal.  1102 speaks solely to dispensaries. Also, as you scan through 1102, you will note the descriptive collective garden does not appear in this section. 1102 is not applicable to this discussion at this time.

That leaves us with the section that seems to be of your concern: 403.

It was back in June of ’09 that I wrote to (the then Clark County Prosecuting Attorney) Art Curtis inquiring if he interpreted one qualifying patient holding a recommendation (“patient” here on) handing another patient a cannabis plant (or cannabis) as delivery and or distribution. Not surprisingly I never received a response. The answer is obvious however. Of course it is. Cannabis is a controlled substance under the CSA. An analogy might be; me handing another individual a narcotic pain-killer. Though we both have a prescription for the drug, I am not a licensed pharmacist, nor a doctor. The act would be illegal.

Cannabis is a bit different animal than prescribed medications though, isn’t it?

Section 403 is the provision that allows ten patients to support one another without fear of transportation, distribution, cultivation and/or other related charges. Contrary to popular belief cannabis isn’t hard to grow. The equipment for a small indoor grow needn’t be expensive to procure. The cost of supporting a small garden needn’t be prohibitive. Even with that said, for some, cultivation is impossible; whether it is due to their health problems, living arrangements… what-have-you.

A Designated Provider is allowed under the law, but that can prove to be a narrow avenue of support. It isn’t uncommon to have a garden “crash.” This can be from insect infestation, mistakes on the grower’s part, disease, any number of reasons. A crash can be devastating.

Let’s take a closer look at section 403.

The “presumptive” amount of plants and materials here are what would normally be afforded three patients at any one time. Please, don’t allow the number ‘10’ to induce a vision of fields of cannabis.  45 plants can easily be grown in an indoor environment. Outdoor grows only occur during the summer months. These, as well as the indoor, are kept somewhat covert. Not for fear of law enforcement, but thieves.

Allow me to introduce a hypothetic scenario here. Let’s say we have a husband and wife that are both patients and providers. Under the law, they may possess 60 plants and/or 6 pounds of material at any one time. This hypothetical grow is not subject to your regulation. Do you wonder if grows such as this are out there? I’ll leave that for you to ponder.

Nowhere in section 403 will you find the word ‘facility.’ Nowhere in 403 will you see the word ‘dispensary’ or ‘licensing.’ That is not the intention of the law. The intention is to allow a small group of patients to support one another. If you stop and give this some consideration you’ll realize that it is actually contrary to the dispensary model!

I understand that law enforcement has some concerns about unscrupulous individuals manipulating possible loopholes in the law. This happened with the previous law that read a designated provider can only have one patient at any one time. These individuals defined “time” as fifteen minutes, or less. 5073 states 15 days. Should a provider/patient relationship end, that provider may not provide for another patient for 15 days. Loophole closed.

Why not have the Clark/Skamania Task Force publish a policy revolving around their interpretation of the law? Guidelines, if you will. I know that prior to the DOH issuing their definition of a presumptive limit the Task Force had defined that as nine plants. Would it be legal to state that a member of a collective, upon leaving, cannot be replaced for 15 days? It would seem to me this would be in concert with the law’s intent.

In closing (and I don’t mean to be condescending) it sure seems to me “someone” is making a mountain out of a mole hill, here. If I may assist in clarifying any questions you may have feel free to contact me. I’m hearing impaired so email would be best. Heck, I’ll go a step further. If you would like to speak directly with a “patient” and/or take a tour of a small medicinal grow, drop me a line and we’ll set up a time.

Stirring the Pot?

There was an article in the June 11th edition of The Columbian, the local paper. It was about your typical grow-house bust. No one lived there. Power was being stolen. There were 1,600 plants. Classically, when there are suspects apprehended with these things they are associated with Mexican or Asian pot peddling outfits. …nothing new there. I don’t recall reading about many (any other?) of those, here in Vancouver, but typical nonetheless.

What I found terribly odd was when the “Task Force Commander” started talking about dispensaries. You know, medicinal cannabis dispensaries?  The cat was quoted as saying the product from these grows was headed to the dispensaries!

He was quoted as having a conversation with the Clark County commissioners about zoning… wait for it… for DISPENSARIES!

And then, THEN! the county’s drug and alcohol program manager (what the hell is  he doing  in this article?) is quoted as saying that the senate bill Governor Gregoire line vetoed 36 sections of, and then signed April 29th at 3:00 p.m., is new information.

I’m flabbergasted.

How the hell did we go from a black-market pot grow to medicinal cannabis, dispensary zoning and — “new information” on a piece of legislation that’s been lying around for a month and a half?

You think I’m making this all up? Here’s the article. Read it for yourself.

The Columbian, June 11th

So, you guys know me. I couldn’t let the thing go. After giving it some consideration I figured the best option would be to offer to educate the two individuals mentioned in the article about the medicinal cannabis laws in the state of Washington.  After all, I do feel education is key here. The following is my letter to the Editor as it appeared in the paper.

Regarding the June 11 story, “Growing suspicions; Thanks to alert neighbors, police find prolific pot-growing operation in Vancouver house,” a black-market grow ruining a home is not a good thing. Theft of power is stealing. I’ve no arguments there. All bad stuff, no doubt.

You know what else is bad? How about when Task Force Commander Mike Cooke off-handedly slams medicinal cannabis as a charade and then makes statements that indicate he doesn’t know what the medicinal cannabis laws are in this state? That scares me more than a black-market pot grow.

I find Cooke’s comments wholly disingenuous and verging on malfeasance.

I would guess it would take Cooke about five minutes to have my phone number and address. So, Cooke — grab Cleve Thompson, the county’s drug and alcohol program manager, and drop in. I’d be more than happy to school you guys on RCW 69.51a and Senate Bill 5073. All I ask is you come by at a decent hour and knock.

Ironically, when I sent the LTTE (via email) I got a response back reminding me my address and phone number were required for submission. Heh.

In the Washington State Legislature

Senator Jeanne Kohl-Wells introduced SB 5073 this year. Basically, it’s a revamp of Washington’s current 69.51a; the state’s medicinal cannabis law(s). Everyone and their sibling has seen this as an opportunity to make amendments to suit their own purposes. Some of those efforts appear to be nefarious in nature.

When I learned of one such amendment I dropped a note to the members of the Ways and Means Committee.  It was sent 2/21 and follows:

I understand you folks have been barraged by special interest groups and the like in response to this bill. May I preface this correspondence by stating my only special interest is me.

I don’t care what defines a “provider.” I don’t care about collectives or cannabis store fronts. I don’t care about employment U.A.s. I don’t care about…

All I want is to peacefully grow my small plants and use the harvest to supplement the small amount of opiate pain relievers I rely on. And to do so within the confines of the law.

It is my belief that the following amendment to SB 5073 will force me to become a criminal in order to relieve the pain from my malady:

“…Health care professionals must monitor patients on a quarterly basis and file quarterly reports with the Department of Health regarding number of patients they have authorized to use medical cannabis. DOH is authorized to determine if the amount of authorizations is “inappropriate.” Such a determination would constitute a finding of unprofessional conduct against a health care professional.”

These are not real expectations. My ailment is chronic. My spine will not suddenly heal itself and I will not suddenly become tolerant of the various pharmaceuticals I have attempted to utilize for palliative relief. Further, my income will not support quarterly doctor visits.

Also, there is no sane physician (in my opinion, obviously) that will begin to discuss cannabis, let alone write a recommendation, given the veiled threat contained in the amendment.

Please, I beseech you, strike this amendment.

If you can’t see your way to that then I would ask you pool together for my bail. A little lawyer money would be nice too.

The bill passed out of Ways and Means the evening of 2/24 with amendment 411 (Written on lavender paper. I watched the hearing on CCTV). 411 amends the above mentioned requirements that I was concerned with.

2SSB 5073 (newly named) now moves on to the Senate Rules Committee.

Man, this thing scares the bejeezus out of me. 

(a later in the day update… oops)

From further investigation it appears the portion that would threaten a medical professional with sanction, if they make more recommendations than the DOH feels appropriate, was not struck from the bill. Now I’ve got a drawers full of “bejeezus!”

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