Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Roe Vs. TeleTech: Will Washington State Protect it's Patients?

Medicinal cannabis has been a controversial topic for some time. Though in the state of Washington, it's been gaining more and more momentum towards legalization and social responsibility. Most wa-voters have made it clear that they want to see safe access for patients who need it, and they don't want to see patients lose their jobs for their choice of a safer alternative to the poisons we know as pharmaceuticals.

This is part of what makes Roe Vs. TeleTech, such a special case. The ruling of the Washington Supreme court will set a precedent for future career disputes in our state. At least until new laws are written.

If the court declares that a legal patients at home use of medicinal cannabis, does not violate "drug-free" work place standards and that Wa state patients are allowed protections from such prejudices, then it will protect the jobs of hundreds of patients in our state, who can't afford to lose their jobs.

However.... if the court rules that there are no state protections for patients, and that it is perfectly fine for a company to fire a medicinal patient, then there could be job losses seen all over the state. It would set the stage for extreme prejudices from employers, worse then what we are already seeing.

On top of this, it could also show many of the state dispensaries and providers that the state is not willing to state up for it's constituents, and bring much upheaval in the states battle to collect retail taxes from them. One of the main concerns I hear from these places, is that they are willing to pay the taxes, but that they want state protection if they are going to pay so much more.

So far, both the ACLU and the Cannabis Defense Coalition (CDC), have joined together with Roe, to try and prove that there is no justification in firing an employee who legally attained their patient status under our current medicinal cannabis laws. Their position, is that a patients private and doctor approved usage of medicinal cannabis, is not the concern of employers. So long as an employee is not working a job that includes public safety, and the use of medicinal cannabis does not effect work performance, then it should be no different then being prescribed pain killers or psychological pharma for medical ailments.

I personally feel that TeleTech has set themselves up to be an example for the rest of the state. They originally hired Jane Roe with the full and complete awareness that she is a medicinal cannabis patient, and hired her anyways. It was not until she was asked to submit to a drug-screening, that they terminated her employment as a customer service phone representative. When the test came back positive for THC, they said, "I'm sorry, we've changed our minds! No THC allowed!"

They might have been free and clear if they had turned her away for employment in the first place, making a clear statement that they did not condone the use of cannabis, medical or otherwise, in their work place. However, since they hired her anyways, does this not suggest that they didn't have a problem with her medicinal use that was authorized by her doctor?

TeleTech has got themselves into quiet a mess. Thankfully, Jane Roe and her team are not just going to sit back and take it, and will push the issue as far as it will go. From here, we will see precedents set. The court date is set for today, Jan 18th 2011. I am hoping for good news to come out of those court rooms soon.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Should Inmates Have Access to Their Medical Cannabis Medication?

It appears that Washington state has found itself in a bind. Not only has it been caught with it's pants down trying to charge a retail sales tax on medical dispensaries, but now they are trying to figure out how to ignore our states medicinal cannabis laws.

Folks like Kathy Parkins and Doug Hyatt have put Washington state Department of Corrections (DOC) in such a situation, that if it were a painting, it would be of our legislature and DOC all doing the sit and spin on each others thumbs. The reason they have been able to do this, is because many patients in the midst of trying to do nothing other than safely obtain their meds, have been locked up. Now... here's the tricky part. Washington state laws say that an inmate, regardless of their crime, is entitled to receive their medication while they serve their time.

Since Washington state also allows for medicinal marijuana for qualified patients, it's found itself in a precarious situation when arresting mmj patients. For the most part, those that have been arrested (usually for marijuana related crimes) have been denied their right to their medicine. Though with the help of the media, cannabis advocates and Seattle's own cannabis advocating lawyer; Doug Hyatt, many patients are hoping they will get equal treatment like any other inmate.

I agree, personally (who could've guess that?). If inmates are allowed their narcotic pain killers, psychotropic sedatives and psychological pharmaceuticals, then they should also be allowed to follow their choice of a safer alternative.

The DOC doesn't agree though, suggesting that they fear what would happen if an mmj patient inmate where to use their meds and then become violent.


They are worried about mmj patients becoming violent after using cannabis? REALLY?

I have a few questions for the DOC.... Such as...:

Does the DOC require any of their staff to have an I.Q. over 10? How about reading or being social with real people in the world? Are all DOC staff and workers so cut off from the world that they have neither read about, nor talked to any friends or family about the scientific findings on cannabis? For that matter, has anyone who works for the DOC, ever been a teenager? Or did they just skip that life stage?

I would be willing to bet that most of those who control and whom work for the DOC, have no true fears about cannabis causing violent inmates, mostly because I would bet my value that they have all tried cannabis. Or at very least, living in Washington state, that they know several people whom use or have used cannabis.

Their other excuse for denying mmj patients the same rights as their fellow inmates, is that the DOC upholds that it is a "drug free" zone that enforces it's inmates to be clean. Of course, that logic is fouled up when they allow any inmate to receive vicodin, oxycotin, prozac or lithium. They allow in some of the most dangerous drugs in prescription form, and yet they are "drug free"?

I think my favorite excuse by far though, is this line that I found in a Seattle Times report:

"It is a very difficult position the department is in," he said. "The public expects us to help these folks return to the community, and to protect the public. It is just incongruent for us to allow some to use marijuana when it led to the criminality in the first place."

Most of those people involved in "criminality" that was caused by cannabis in the first place, were either trying to get their meds, or to help others get their meds. They were not gang lord criminals trying push pot on highschoolers. They were not pharma pushers trying to entice people into new synthetic addictions. For that matter, even if they were found to having sold another adult some recreational cannabis, was there really any victim involved in that?

In that same article, the DOC suggests that it has not heard enough from taxpayers about changing the way they are handling things, and until then, they are going to keep denying most patients from receiving their mmj unless they have an extremely urgent need, and sometimes not even then.

You might want to read that again, because it appears that the DOC is daring the cannabis community in our state to shout out to them and make it clear that mmj patient inmates should have the same rights as other inmates, to access their meds.

Check out more info about the story at http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2013810004_marijuana03m.html

This will definitely be an interesting story to follow as demand for relegalization increases.

Naughty or Nice? The Truth About Spice...

Okay, this is a subject that has hit home several times already, and it's one of my hot buttons. As a cannabis advocate and studier of shamanic and spiritual ways, I find so many things offensive about these products being dubbed "fake pot".

I'm sure you are no stranger to the new industry of "synthetic cannabis" and "fake pot". The people who produce such things as Spice, K2, Salvia, smoke-able incense and synthetic cannabinoid sprays. The people who sell these products will usually tell you that these products are just as safe as cannabis, and just like the same high, but that their legal so that makes them better.

These attempts to get around the illegality of the true cannabis sativa plant, have been around since just after the prohibition started in 1936. Though they have not really ever hit the market with such a boom as they have recently. Mostly because they were never really marketed with such vigor, nor did prior marketers have such useful tools as the internet and social media's. In the past decade, these psychotropic herbs have found their way into the mainstream.

This would not be such a bad thing, except that they haven't been marketing these herbs for what they truly are: Psychotropic or Psychadelic herbs. Instead, they have been calling them "synthetic cannabis" and "fake pot". Not because these mixtures are truly like cannabis, but because people trust the cannabis name. People understand that cannabis is safe and healthy to use, so when they see another herb or mixture of herbs that are labeled as another form of cannabis, they jump to it. This is criminal in my mind. It gives cannabis a bad name.

Some of the plants, such as Zornia latifolia, have been used by some cultures as a substitute for cannabis. Though none of them have claimed the herbs to 'cannabis-like'. In fact, most of the herbs that are now being marketed as synthetic cannabis, have been herbs that have been used by shamans and other ancient practitioners, to reach altered states of reality. These are powerful herbs that can turn a person into a nut-house if they aren't careful. Altered states are not something to mess with when you don't even have an inkling as to what you are doing. They may not be "poisonous", but they certainly are potent in their own ways.

Yet none of the pushers of fake pot will tell you that, and for that matter, half of them don't even know it themselves. Some of them push it because they feel they are doing some service to those that would like access to a safer alternative then alcohol, while others are just doing it because these herbs are not yet regulated by the gov, and they see a way to make profits. Either way, it's a stupid idea in my mind.

It would probably bother me less, if they were at least honest about what they are selling, and what the effects of their herbs and mixtures really can do to the people who use them. Especially because many people have attempted to use these herbs as if they really were cannabis, and ended up having nervous brake-downs, car accidents or committing suicide. Now, it's not to say that everyone will have that reaction, but with true cannabis, no such thing has happened. Paranoia? Yes. Nervous break downs? No way. Cannabis is a unique and genuine plant that cannot be synthesized, copied or faked. I don't care what anyone tells you. Simply because they have found a few plants that can interact with some of our endocannabinoid receptors, does not make them safe, helpful or good to use.

On top of that, most pushers of spice, herbal incense and herbal smoking mixtures, don't really have any idea what reacts with people in their mixtures. Several cannabinoids have been named from scientists who discovered them as mimicing THC, though none of them have actually been found in most of the spice mixtures. Instead, it is mostly a compound of synthetic vitamin E and other synthetic sources, that gives spice it's kick. How is that for honest? Most spice dealers don't even understand the way their mixtures work. Fancy lingo about what they think makes it work, doesn't hide the ignorance involved in what they are doing. Especially when tests on the substances don't match up with what the sellers are suggesting.

One of the largest problems that has arisen from this, is that spice and other "fake pot" mixtures, are not regulated by any agencies out there to protect unsuspecting people. The other problem is that many people are too ignorant to research what they are using, before they use it. I mean, if someone tried to sell me an incense that said "not for human consumption", but said that I could smoke it, that would be red alert number one. It's all good to slight to FDA and their corrupt organization, but by going around saying it's something that it's not, is crazy. Especially when it comes to calling anything similar to cannabis.

Calling anything "fake" or "synthetic" cannabis, gives cannabis a bad name. Cannabis is a special, and unlike any other herbs out there. Even some of the spices claimed to be milder then other herbs, can have much harsher effects then cannabis, even in it's dirtiest strains.

Seattle hasn't been a stranger to spice, and it seems to be showing up in the news more often, that mishaps are happening with people using and abusing spice and similar products. This is a clear show that cannabis should be legalized sooner rather than later. If it were legal, then there would be few, if any, reasons for people to seek legal alternatives or substitutes to cannabis. There would still be a few, but their numbers would be low.

On top of that, those people who still use these herbs for traditional spiritual practices, would not have to suffer the consequences of more herbs being prohibited. So far, it is only the spice and incense itself that has been placed on a temporary schedule I list for a year, but once they are done analyzing all the mixtures, who is to say that they would not ban each herb individually? They have done it in the past, and anyone who sells or buys spice and other "fake pot" products, will be contributing to that prohibition.

Come on people, let's be smarter than that. Don't search for legal alternatives. Instead, put that energy into relegalization and reform of the drug war. It will be safer and healthier for everyone in the long run.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

If at first she doesn't succeed... Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles will try try again!

I have to give Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles a large amount of respect. She is among a short list of senators in our state who actually listens to her constituents and fights to fulfill their wishes. I have to give her even bigger props for her most recent draft of a bill she would like to put into action in 2011. As I sat down with my meds, I read the entire bill and took live notes on my facebook.

This bill is fresh news in the cannabis culture and is mostly great news for the Washington state cannabis community, even if it isn't perfect. So far, the only site I could find that is covering this news, is the Cannabis Defense Coalition, based out of west Seattle. Which isn't surprising, since they are usually on top of state cannabis politics. What does this mean? It means that you are getting local cannabis news hot off the presses!

Two of my favorite pass times, are writing about cannabis and doing analysis break downs of political bills. So this will be fun for everyone as we go through the good, the bad and the ugly of this bill.

Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles is calling it the "Washington State Medical Use of Cannabis Act", and right from the start of reading the bill, many good vibes come screaming out of it. Both the language of the act, and her written goals for this act http://cdc.coop/docs/2011%20Medical%20Use%20of%20Cannabis%20Act%20-%20Overview%20of%20Goals.pdf suggest that she is not only fighting for patient rights, but she is also fighting for the state to start taking a fact based and appropriate stand point on the plant. They are no longer going to be using the slang term "marijuana" that was created by the government to turn cannabis into a dirty deed. All things cannabis will be referred to all things cannabis, as it should be. The whole act is very well written, and it looks like all good intentions were put in, and that she did A LOT of research about the subject. The bill isn't perfect though, and as I am going to point out, though it is next to perfect, there are some parts in it that might need to be revised before pushing it through, otherwise it will be as doomed as her last few attempts. The cannabis community wants to re-legalize, especially in a medicinal sense, but it wants to do it right.

THE GOOD: Okay, lets first cover the good parts of this bill. There are lots of them, and I find it's always best to start on a positive note.

This bill....

#Allows legal cannabis patients protection from arrest, seizure or prosecution from the law

#Allows patient providers protection from arrest, seizure or prosecution from the law

#Establishes licenses for producers (farmers or growers) and dispensers, and gives them protection from arrest, seizure or prosecution fro the law, so long as they are following the rules.

#Gives affirmative protection for those patients, providers, producers or dispensers that have been arrest, had their meds seized or whom are being prosecuted. Basically, if they are wrongly prosecuted, they have protection and can get retribution for the wrongs made against them.

#Establishes rules and acceptance of patient collectives. This bill allows for patient collectives to be as large as 7 people, and to host as much as 99 plants plus dried meds.

#Establishes that a person can be a provider and a patient at the same time.

#Establishes a less ambiguous amount of cannabis to be possessed. Instead of a "60 day supply" and/or fifteen plants plus dried matter, it changes it to up to 24 ounces of med plus 15 plants. Or twice that amount if you are both a patient and a provider.

#Gives some protection to patients whom are here visiting, or whom have just moved her from another state, so long as they have legal medical documentation from their own state.

#Protects patients from being ripped off by their provider, in that it specifically states that a provider may not consume, sell or use any cannabis that is grown for a medicinal cannabis patient.

#Allows for both patient and provider to terminate their patient-provider relationship at any time.

#This is one of my FAVORITE parts. In new section 12, PARENTS who are cannabis patients or providers are finally protected as well! There have been many cases where states (including our own) have tried to take away parental rights simply because a parent was a patient or provider. Section 12 states that so long as the use of medicinal cannabis does not inhibit a parents capability to preform their duties as a loving parent, then there is no cause or reason to take away their child or children. This is an amazing break through in cannabis bills written so far in just about all legal medicinal states. Parents have widely been forgotten about, but in this bill, Senator Kohl-Welles clear shows that she has heard the patient parents who are afraid of losing their children for their choice of a safer alternative.

#There are some protections for providers or patients found to be possessing more than the legal limit, if they an prove then necessity of having extra.

#For the first time ever, this is a bill that will cover medicinal cannabis patient rights to be employed like everyone else. You won't be allowed to work law enforcement or construction, but it's better than nothing. Take that Walmart!

#Takes public use of cannabis down from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction

#A medicinal cannabis regulatory group or committee will likely be formed, to protect patients through regulating the growth of cannabis (to make sure it's organic and properly packaged). The committee will also attempt to develop weights and measurements that can be used legally. Though I don't understand why they don't just use the system already in place.

#In situations where a police officer of inspector finds more than the designated amount, they are only allowed to take the excess, not the whole lot.

#A strange addition to this bills says that if you are loading packaged cannabis into a vessel or vehicle, it is not allowed to be inspected by an officer or inspector, if it risks contaminating the cannabis.

#Protects patient rights to confidentiality because their name will need to go on a list

#Cities in Washington are not allowed to write laws that go against this bill if it is enacted, meaning that cities cannot ban medicinal cannabis usage in this state and must allow safe access for patients.

#This bill doesn't try to put medicinal cannabis in liquor stores! Yay!

#Specifically and clearly states that doctors and police officers will not discipline or discriminated against for their role in medicinal cannabis patients lives.

#They have somewhat covered fraud in that they have made it illegal to make fake papers, or to back-date a recommendation.


This bill...

#Does not say anything about how many plants our ounces a producer or dispenser is allowed to possess, nor does it explain at all about how many patients a dispenser may dispense too.

#Claims that cannabis is in the Moraceae plant family, when it is actually a part of the Cannabacaea family.

#Because of ambiguous writing, they have included industrial hemp products in the amount of cannabis that a person can have. This is not okay, since industrial hemp usually carries less then 1% THC, and is not considered to be a drug or medication once it is processed into a salve, lotion, edible or other item for use.

#Does not specify if the 15 allowable plants per patient or provider, include starter plants, or plants that have been uprooted and are being dried.

#Does not include language to cover if fresh buds on a plant are included as part of the 24 allowable maximum ounces that a patient or provider is allowed to have at any given time. This has come up with the current medical cannabis laws. Do wet buds that are still attached to the plant, count as dried meds? Patients should not have to guess, that's how people get wrongfully arrested.

#Does not include volunteers in with the "staff" of a producer or dispenser. This is suckish because a dispenser has to be a non-proft org, meaning most of their efforts are completed by volunteers. Are cannabis volunteers not protected by the law?

#This is a newer issue, but still important. The bill does not have any language to cover underage patients who have serious medicinal conditions that require the use of cannabis.

#They would like dispenaries to include some confetti or some sort of product that would allow for easy identification of stolen medicinal cannabis, though this poses a risk of contaminating the medicine.

#They have said that a medicinal recommendation must be a valid "paper", when it should be a valid "document", because a plastic medicinal card is not paper and wouldn't be counted.


#In section 8, where it says that patients have the right to terminate their provider at any time; it says that providers may only provider for one patient in a 90 day period, and that if they are terminated from providing for their patient earlier then the 90 day period, they must wait out the remain days in the period before they can provide for another patient. There are several vary large problems with this. The first being that a patient might simply decide to go to a dispensary or collective and not terminate their provider for anything they did wrong, leaving them high and dry. The other, and more important issue, is that if a person is a provider one day, and then the next their patient decides to disown them, they that provider automatically becomes a felon. That is not going to work at all, and is waaaaay ugly.

#This bill specifically says that as a cannabis patient you must allow an officer or inspector to search your grow or stash area to make sure you are under the legal limit of cannabis, even without a search warrant. They do offer brief and small protection for patients or providers who refuse inspection, but this is still VERY ugly. Patients who use pharma are not put under these searches to make sure they don't have extra meds, and for no other reason would an american have to allow a police officer to come into their home at any time. Why does being a cannabis user mean you have to give up some basic civil rights?

#There is no provision in this bill that says that if a patient or provider is wrongfully arrested or has their crop seized or destroyed, that they will be reimbursed for their wrongful losses. Unwarranted raids have happened so often in the past, and when the patient or provider went through court and proved their innocence, they were not able to get help to get their meds back.

#Allows for the use of DUI for any patient found driving, even if they are not "medicated" while driving. This would be fine if there were a measurable way to tell if a person was high while driving, or if they were a danger on the road, but this bill seems to allow for a patient or provider to be claimed for driving under the influence, simply for being a patient or provider. NOT COOL.

#The Dept of Agriculture is allowed to inspect producers or dispensers at any time, unannounced, so long as they do it within normal business hours. This is not valid, in the sense that all non-cannabis businesses are not required to follow this sort of treatment, and are at least afforded a few hours of notice first.

#Licensed producer fines for violating the law can get as high as $1000 per violation! Ouch!

#This bill does not clarify what taxes the state can collect from dispensers or producers, which is a current upcoming problem in our state. Without this clarification, the battle could continue. 

This doesn't cover the complete bill, because I want you to read it for yourself. Take the time to pick through it and think about it all. Are you willing to compromise with the Ugly and Bad things included in this bill?

To read the bill, and get more info, check out this page on the CDC website:


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Teen-Cannabis Use At 30 Year "High" in Seattle Says Obama Administration...

Obama admins chief drug policy official Gil Kerlikowske has said that legalizing cannabis for medical purposes has given a bad example to the teens in Seattle. The Obama admin, is clearly trying to suggest several things with this accusation. 1) That cannabis use is bad, and 2) That young adults shouldn't have as much right to a safer alternative then alcohol or cigarettes, that adults have.

Sadly though, as any sane and logical person knows, pot use by teenagers is not at any "30 year high". What is at a 30 year high, is the confidence of the entire cannabis community, including from young adults. Cannabis education and reform has gone farther then just reaching the medical community. It has helped people world over to recognize the validity of cannabis as a regular addition to a persons diet and if needed, their medicinal regime.

Cannabis is not a bad or poisonous plant. It does not turn adults, or teenagers, into lazy or psychotic people. And while I can understand a small increase in the total amount of teens who have tried and/or utilize cannabis for recreation or pain, there is no way that there is a 30 year high on how many of them use. It may seem this way when the feds twist it to benefit their cause. While in reality, it is just that teens are not afraid to admit they have tried or that they use cannabis. They know it won't kill them, and many of them have talked with their parents and understand the need to be a productive society member, with or without cannabis. They also understand that the laws in Seattle are more lenient on people who possess cannabis, because cannabis is not that bad.

Granted, I do suggest that teenagers should use cannabis. There are already so many things going on for a teen in high school, they might as well wait till college anyways... Though if it came down to a choice of teens drinking, or popping pharmaceutical pills, I would prefer to find out a teen was using cannabis. Not to mention, the Obama admin is suggesting that "12th graders" are whom are using the most. That means they are talking about 17 and 18 year olds. Last time I checked, and 18 year old is an adult in our country, which means they are free to consume what they please, and to make their own choices. They are officially not "children" anymore, and are the youthful adult party. 17 year olds are not that far off, and so long as education statistics are not dropping with more teens admitting to trying or using cannabis, then there should be no beef.

I don't expect this comment from the Obama admin to even create much of a ripple in the big pond, but I still wanted to comment on it. It seems so interesting to me that the propaganda continues....

You can read more at this article from the Pi


Washington State MMJ Community Under Attack From The State Tax Man...

Do you remember the story of Ant and Grasshopper? The little ant toiled away all summer, preparing for winter. It packed up it's house with food and extra shelter materials. It even put away reserves into to storage, just in case winter was long, or something came up. All the while that the Ant prepared, the Grasshopper spent it's days racing around the puddles with it's friends, eating up the bounty that the summer left. Grasshopper even took the time to stop at laugh at Ant. "Look at him, he's all work and no play. Must be a dull guy." Said Grasshopper to his hopper friends, and they all laughed. Though when winter came, you can guess who was the last one laughing. Cold weather swept in unexpectedly early in the year, and blanketed the ground with fresh snow. Ant was outside shoveling off his mound one morning, when Grasshopper came groveling for food. Ant turned him away kindly, and went back to his work to maintain through the winter and get ready for work in the summer.

This child's tale reminds me of what is going on in the cannabis culture in Washington state. The dispensaries and providers are the ants that spent their summers preparing for the winter. They are solo people, or small groups of people, who do what they can to help others and help themselves get ahead and have a better quality of life while they are doing it.  The dispensaries went through all the proper channels, jumped through all the fiery hoops and bribed the right people, so that they could open places that were safe for medicinal users to access their meds. Likewise, the singular providers had to struggle through their own obstacles, on top of practicing organic husbandry for their patients plants. Both dispensaries and providers face threats from the law everyday, because the law says they won't be prosecuted, it doesn't say they won't be arrested and have their meds confiscated. Nor does the state law say that it protects even the most legit provider or dispensary from DEA raids. They also face a moderate threat from the criminal element that used to control black market cannabis around here, and isn't to happy that dispensaries and providers are taking a large chunk of their business. There are risks every where for the busy green ants in Washington state, and now their risks have doubled.

The state, which is represented by the Grasshopper, has spent it's summer toiling away the budget. A few dozen flights here, a few deals there, a lot of over inflated paychecks... It went faster then they thought, and the revenue didn't come in from the water, candy and extra cigarette taxes.. (Who could've seen that coming?) So now the state is in a bind. Voters are already furious that the budget has tanked as bad as it has, and they are a bit miffed that every attempt to re-legalize cannabis has been continually combated by the state. On top of unhappy tax payers, the state isn't getting the revenue they were hoping from their previously lame attempts, they are stuck. They can't add any more taxes this year, and they know it. Even with a special session, it will kill any last bit of respect the citizens of Washington might have held for their law makers...Which would mean bye bye paycheck all together. So what is a big bad and broke grasshopper supposed to do now? They're cold and hungry, and they know it will only go on if they don't figure something out. They see the ants, whom have spent all summer getting ready for the harshness of winter, whom are happily enjoying hot cocoa in their little hills. The ants look so happy, and the grasshopper knows their must be a way to get what the ants have. Though instead of considering working hard or trading something in exchange for food, water and warmth, the grasshoppers decide to steal from the ants. The grasshoppers try to plan a few raids on the ant hills, to take what they need and then scare the rest of the ants into giving up their resources to the grasshoppers.

To be a little bit less cryptic... Washington state has recently decided that it wants to tax medical marijuana dispensaries and providers, for every exchange of cannabis that goes through their hands. Even though dispensaries and providers only accept donations from their patients and members, and have gone through all the proper channels to do so, that they still must pay a sales tax for all donations received. The state has decided that there is a magic exemption in the state law that says that marijuana must be taxed and cannot be considered a charitable act of giving and being generously compensated for that charity. Please correct me if I'm wrong here, but as far as I am aware, there are not any other charities that have to pay a retail sales tax on their gifts and services to this state..Yet cannabis has a special exemption?

Why such the bullying tactics Washington state? I am not personally a believer that the state or the fed gov should get any piece of the cannabis revenue pie. However, I am willing to accept that some sort of trade has to be put on the table, and both sides need to play nice and compromise. Which is why I sport a "regulate it & tax it" sort of attitude. If the state wants a larger chunk of the green rush, then they need to re-legalize it completely in our state, and all the people to do their thing. Businesses will crop up left and right, all the empty store fronts that are depression empty right now, will fill up with custom hackey sack stores, gourmet restaurants, new age night clubs, vocational schools, and happy people enjoying their lives. Even if no cannabis shops opened up, the economy would pick up anyways, and the state would receive a lot more tax revenue from the raising productivity level in this state. Then, as the canna-cafe's, enlightening espresso stands, creative culture clubs and learn-to-grow schools open up, the economy will hit another boom and the state will get another burst in tax revenue. Mostly from the extra businesses opening up, but also from a small and reasonable tax on cannabis that has been processed, which is pretty much the same as a general confection tax on consumable items. You see, even a small tax would make so much for a while, that it would put any other tax revenue plan to shame.

And the people are for it. The city of Seattle is home the nations largest cannabis protestival, our state has one of the lowest number of cannabis arrests or prosecutions, and most cities have either decriminalized cannabis to a certain extent, or the law enforcement just isn't as concerned with cannabis as they used to be in many cities. The cannabis use has gone up and the crime rate has gone down. The people are ready for cannabis to be legal in the state of Washington. Millions of locals have voiced their opinions in forums, on news reports, to blogs, and at protests and rallies every year.

The state knows that it's prime time to re-legalize, even many of the cities have already started to make their moves to submit legislation to re-legalize in our state. Yet the state doesn't want to go through the work to re-legalize it now, when they need the money the most. The state can't wait until November 2011. They have burnt through the money already, and just don't want to admit to it. It sucks, but the cannabis culture is already prepared to re-legalize in the coming year. So if the state doesn't want to legalize now, it won't be any different. People around here can wait for it to be fully legalized when another initiative is put on the ballet in 2011. It may seem like a long wait, but for Washingtonians, it's been a long fight and a long time coming. To wait just a little bit longer is not a problem for people that have been conditioned to be tolerant with the state.  Washingtonians have learned that small steps and lots of patients get the culture a lot further in the end.

It is this reserve for patience that I am hoping the dispensaries and providers will persevere with. The state is threatening DEA raids on dispensaries, co-ops and providers, unless they agree to pay a retail sales tax on every bit of cannabis that goes through their hands. It's going to be a scary road, and sadly, a few dispensaries may get hurt by the tantrums from the state. Though if the cannabis culture can endure, it will be the state that looks bad and looses dignity. The headlines will show their misdeeds against the medical community, and it will create a great change in the minds of the cannabis community. They will see that there is a big need to make sure that the state gets the smallest amount of taxes (if any) when it comes time to legalize. They're already paid too much, and over inflated in many ways. In my opinion, the cannabis culture has already given enough through jail time and taxes to pay law enforcement and courts systems to process cannabis "criminals".

It is my advice to the state, that they should hold a special "re-legalize cannabis in Washington state" session. Instead of trying to suggest that mmj providers and dispensaries are not following the laws, and aggravating everyone. Playing nice, and doing just a little bit of work, would set the stage to get the incoming taxes that they think they need right now, and to let Washingtonians get back on their feet. The state would do well to do it this way, and take the bribe for the cannabis community, instead of trying to steal the taxes from the mmj community. Which will only result in raising prices for patients, who are already suffering and don't need any more people to kick them while they are down.

It seems to me like the state could have more ulterior motives behind the curtain. Some news reports have suggested that they state could be trying to trap the mmj community into a trap with the DEA. If dispensaries or providers were to pay the retail sales tax, wouldn't they be admitting to not having followed the laws set down by the state? Or could it be that if they get into selling retail before the laws are set straight to legalize retail sales of cannabis, would they be breaking state law again? It makes a person wonder who at the top of the state gov has decided to steal this tax money. Could it be even more sinister? That maybe the state is losing money because the black market is losing money? It would make sense, since the only two entities that are unhappy about legal ganja, is the gov and the criminals.... They are the only one's who might suffer if cannabis were legalize. Which gives more logic to the idea that the state should re-legalize now, and get easy tax revenue while the tax payers are in a giving mood.

I tell you what, I wouldn't want to see what would happen if they enforced an unjust tax on the cannabis community, especially just as the holidays are coming up. How cruel is that? Ants may be small individually, but they can be a formidable foe when they all get together to protect their hills that they spent all year preparing. In fact, the ants have already shown their mustard, as the state tried to raid through dispensaries and co-ops and said that they could not provide to more then one patient. Or as the state continues to go after patients for growing more than "the limit", which has been proved to be to ambiguous. The state continues to try and keep the cannabis community down, but we are too many. Small we may be as individuals, but large we are as a community.

If the state continues to pursue this tax theft to the cannabis community, I am betting that it will be a hell of a show. Either we get headlines that say "special session to re-legalize cannabis and collect tax revenue", or it will say "state steals from sick stoners because they wasted the budget". It will definitely be worth pulling out the popcorn. Maybe there will be more articles with headlines that say "are we paying state legislators to much in salary?".....

Either way, I am eager to see how things play out through the new year. I certainly intend to follow the story and cheer on the cannabis community through these troubling times. I believe that if the dispensaries and providers can hold out a bit longer, and not give into this crazy cash scheme from the state, that cannabis will be re-legalized even sooner than voters expect.