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The Seattle Times

Washington’s I-502 ‘Legalization’: Don’t Fall For This Narrow Proposal

By Douglas Hiatt
Sensible Washington
Washington voters are being told a big lie. New Approach Washington, the campaign behind Initiative 502, is advertising that it will “legalize” marijuana. It would not.
It creates a very narrow exception that defines the possession of one ounce by adults over 21, and the state’s rules for production, as “not a violation” of the law.
Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes: Did he pull the trigger on Thursday’s DEA letters? Our source says yes.

Were medical marijuana dispensaries targeted for opposing I-502, which is sponsored by Seattle’s city attorney?

The Drug Enforcement Administration letters sent out to 23 Seattle-area medical marijuana access points on Thursday are already stinking to high heaven, just over 24 hours later, as allegations of improper influence cloud the air.

According to Toke of the Town‘s well-placed source in the Washington cannabis community, Seattle Attorney Pete Holmes saw, at Hempfest, the strong opposition to Washington state Initiative 502, the “legalization” measure with a strict and unscientific DUI provision that has torn the community asunder. And, according to this version of events, Pete decided he really didn’t like the medical marijuana industry very much.
Our source tells us that when Holmes got home from Hempfest, still smarting from public relations drubbing the No On 502 folks handed the Yes team at the protestival, he allegedly influenced his good friend U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan to send the letters which went out to dispensaries on Thursday.

MMJ Truth

The Obama Administration’s medical marijuana crackdown came to Seattle in a big way today.

On Thursday, the Drug Enforcement Administration sent notification letters to the operators and property owners of 23 “marijuana store fronts,” as they called them, “located in school zones.” The letters informed the owner/operators that such enterprises “operating as ‘dispensaries’ ” within 1,000 feet of a school, playground or “other prohibited area,” “could result in the seizure and forfeiture of assets, as well as criminal prosecution.”

The seizure could include the property where the dispensary operates, any money received from the business, and potential criminal prosecution. The letter orders dispensary operators and property owners to cease the sale and distribution of marijuana “within 30 days.”
“We all work hard to create a safe zone for kids in school,” claimed U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan of the Western District of Washington. “There is a reason that both federal and state laws prohibit the sale of marijuana in school zones. We need to enforce one message for our students: drugs have no place in or near our schools.”

Mike Purdy’s Public Contracting Blog
The Washington State Capitol building in Olympia

​History was made on Wednesday as 42 members of the Washington Legislature petitioned the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration to reschedule marijuana from its current Schedule I status to a less restrictive classification to allow for its medical use.

“I don’t think a state legislature has done this before,” Seattle-based activist Philip Dawdy told Toke of the Town Thursday evening.

Among the lawmakers signing the letter to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart was Rep. Timm Ormsby, brother of federal prosecutor Michael Ormsby, U.S. Attorney for Eastern Washington. Ormsby, along with Western Washington U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, last year oversaw a federal crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.

Stephanie Bishop
From left, activists Anthony Martinelli, Cydney Moore, Daniel Erdmann and Steve Phun protest at the Federal Building in Seattle on Wednesday

About 40 medical marijuana patients were stirred into action on Wednesday, protesting at the Federal Building in Seattle after Tuesday’s raids by the federal government on dispensaries across Western Washington.
“I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to see over 40 committed activists in the cold and rain in front of the Federal Building today,” said activist Don Skakie of legalization effort Yes End Penalties Washington (YEP WA). “Forty might not seem like much to some, but they represent many who could not, weren’t able or were just plain too scared to show up to defend our rights and tell the Feds to back off.” 
One of those patients, 28-year-old Juliana Plemitscher, who treats her epilepsy with cannabis, said she wouldn’t normally join a public protest against marijuana laws outside the Federal Building, reports Scott Gutierrez at the Seattle P.I.
“It never really occurred to me to get involved in something like this, but when it was Seattle Cross that got shut down — those were good guys,” Plemitscher said. “It makes it kind of personal.”

The Inquisitr
U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan: “We will continue to target and investigate entities that are large scale commercial drug enterprises, or that threaten public safety in other ways.”

​U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan of the Western District of Washington released a statement late Tuesday on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s dispensary raids.

The raids, which stretched across at least three counties and involved more than a dozen dispensaries, took many in the community by surprise, even some who had long expected such as move on the part of the federal government.

The post on the U.S. federal government’s Department of Justice website follows in its entirety:

DEA agent Tuesday morning at Seattle Cannabis Co-op’s location in the Rainier neighborhood

​Federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided medical marijuana collectives in Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Puyallup, Rochester, and Lacey, Washington, as a coordinated raid swept across the Puget Sound region on Tuesday.

Patient advocates and legal defense groups report that at least nine dispensaries have been raided, according to The Seattle Times. Ben Livingston of the patient advocacy group Cannabis Defense Coalition said he’s spoken with several dispensary owners and defense attorney Aaron Pelley, who confirmed raids were occurring.

“I’m in shock because now I have no pain medicine,” said patient Cameron Christenson outside of Seattle Cannabis Co-op on Rainer Avenue, reports David Rose at Q13 Fox News. “I can think of 100 crack houses in town — why don’t you go raid those?”

Josh Farley/Kitsap Sun
Portrait of the Asshole as an Old Man: Drug cop Roy Alloway terrorized Washington medical marijuana patients for years. Now he’s pleaded guilty to federal charges of illegal gun sales, and could go to prison for up to five years.

Every now and then, karma gets it right.

A former police narcotics officer indicted after a federal investigation into illegal gun dealing at Western Washington gun shows pleaded guilty on Wednesday. He faces up to five years in prison, and is scheduled for sentencing on January 20.

Roy Alloway, a 56-year-old retired cop from Port Orchard, was indicted in May by a federal grand jury in Seattle along with three other men, reports Levi Pulkkinen at the Seattle P.I. Alloway was the biggest alleged gun dealer indicted, but the same sting also targeted another man purported to have sold a gun which was used to kill a Seattle police officer.
Alloway, a longtime Bremerton undercover narcotics detective, was infamous for his boorish behavior on the job with the Bremerton Police Department — especially when dealing with medical marijuana patients, with whom he had a deservedly horrible reputation. He pleaded guilty to illegally operating as a gun dealer and to income tax fraud.
The officer was so despised among Washington’s medical marijuana patients that a strain of medical marijuana was ironically named after him in retaliation for his being a raging asshole.
His 10 years with the West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team (WestNET) made him a well-known officer around the state, particularly for his work in marijuana eradication, reports the Kitsap Sun, Alloway’s hometown newspaper.

Charles Wright was one of the five men federally indicted Wednesday in a federal crackdown on medical marijuana in Spokane, Washington

​A federal grand jury has indicted five medical marijuana dispensary owners in and near Spokane, Washington. On Wednesday, a laundry list of federal marijuana charges, including distributing and selling near an elementary school, were announced in the indictments.

Four of those indicted consist of two two-man owner teams from two separate Spokane dispensaries, while the fifth person indicted was allegedly cultivating more than 100 marijuana plants in Loon Lake, Washington.

Graphic: RIPAC

​The head of Rhode Island’s largest medical marijuana advocacy group said she is still optimistic that cannabis dispensaries will be open in the state in the not-too-distant future.

JoAnne Lepannen, executive director of the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition (RIPAC), said on Tuesday that she has carefully reviewed “Seeking to Authorize Marijuana for Medical Use,” the two-page memo issued last week by the Justice Department, reports W. Zachary Malinowski at The Providence Journal.
Lepannen said she sees a silver lining in the document because there is no specific threat by federal authorities to prosecute state employees who are associated with the licensing or oversight of marijuana dispensaries.
“I think there is a ray of hope here,” Lepannen said. “We have to read into this letter what [the federal government]didn’t say. That speaks volumes.”
The memo does warn that those who “facilitate” large-scale medical marijuana production (presumably, that wording was used to intimidate landlords, as well as actual cultivators) are violating the federal Controlled Substances Act.
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