“You’re big and bad and scary — But people see through you” (Bruce Cockburn)
As we approach the 25th Anniversary Celebration of Hempfest (North America’s Biggest and the World’s Best Protestival), I wanted to reflect briefly on some of the carryovers from the age when “The Man” routinely ruined the lives of it’s children by criminalizing their recreational and medical choices relating to Cannabis.
First and foremost – we’ve come a long way, but the Herb is not yet legal. Smoke a joint this weekend in front of Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board Enforcement person if you need to be reminded of that. Pass that joint to a friend (or the Officer?) and you might just be considered in commission of a felony. We have a ways to go yet. DO NOT let down your guard or let up on your support for the full de-criminalization of Cannabis. Do not become complacent with your new partial freedom.
The good news is, you are much more likely to be fined than forcibly detained for illegal Cannabis use in Washington state these days. If you are nice to the officer, you may even get some Doritos – or at least some good advice. Personally, I’m hoping they have Funyuns this year (Chile-Limon?).
As I try to run a data-centric world here on HI-Blog, here are some numbers that support my assertion that The Man has awoken to the vast revenue potential that you and the industry you support represent to it’s insatiable Self.
The Man has already taxed us to the point where the illicit market looks somewhat attractive. They have taken hundreds of thousands of dollars of license fees from applicants without a snowball’s chance in hell of getting a Cannabis license. But that stuff stems directly from legislation and regulation.
The best evidence I have supporting the intrinsic greed of The Man is reflected in the actions of it’s enforcement toward the Cannabis Industry it so gently regulates.
Here is a breakdown of the sanctions that have been levied against State-legal Cannabis operators in Washington over the first two years of the market:
I don’t know about you, but I could not help but notice that most of these sanctions take the form of removing money from the violatee and transferring it to The Man. Almost seems like a pattern. There are a fair number of warnings (which, I suppose, is good) and a tiny number of escalations (which are never good). They are also MURDERING PLANTS – assholes. I’ll bet they did not even bother to trim them properly before subjecting them to destruction. Poor ladies. A moment of silence for the departed mothers. Let’s hope none represented rare medically-efficacious strains.
Now that I’ve recovered from that unfortunate image, you may have also noticed that there were 24 licensees forced to temporarily suspend operations for their sins and 16 businesses that LOST THEIR LICENSES due to some really bad thing that they did (note that not kowtowing to one’s enforcement officer’s unreasonable demands is not included on this list).
So: Why WOULD someone lose their license in this regulated world?
Here is (apparently) why:
Clearly, in addition to Enforcements’ desire to know (truthfully and fully) who businesses are in bed with (true parties of interest), they seem to get very upset when businesses don’t ask for permission before executing changes in ownership. They also seem to get pissed off when businesses lie to them.
That seems to imply that they are human. We should remember that. Behind the flashy uniform and shiny shield and 9mm semi-automatic and body armor, there resides a human being that has chosen to serve as the pointy end of enforcing regulations on State-legal farmers and extractors and cookers and sellers of Cannabis.
Show them respect. They are law enforcement officers (although I tend to view them more as “rule-enforcement” officers). They are human. Be respectful, be nice, and be aware that sharing Cannabis and consuming Cannabis anywhere other than by yourself in your home is still considered (by our legislators, rule-makers, and enforcement folk) a No-No.
So much for how the Liquor, Nicotine, and Cannabis Police have been spending your tax dollars these past two years. Now it’s time to foreshadow things to come.
The obstructionist interpretations of WSLCB-written rules by some folks high up in the Enforcement chain of command (I’m assuming a Commander is high up in that chain) are continuing and they represent a threat to the health of this industry and to it’s ability to adequately meet the needs of the consumer and the Patients that are now forced to quit, go illicit, or shop in the regulated stores.
I’ll do a focused HI-Blog posting on Cmdr. Dzubay’s most recent re-interpretation of a rule her organization wrote later this week, but suffice to say that her selective reading of WAC 314-55-096 results in an environment where farmers and extractors and cookers are NOT going to be able to do justice to educating regulated budtenders about the products they are supposed to be able to discuss intelligently with YOU, the consumer/Patient. This is a dipshit move. It is unfortunate. It is wrong.
I promise to follow-up with a post on this mis-interpretation by the LCB of the LCB’s own rule later this week. Educational samples are not intended to be limited by this WAC the way the good Cmdr. would have us believe. Her interpretation has “criminalized” approximately ½ of the retailers (and quite a few of the wholesalers) in this industry overnight. Shitty thing to do, IMHO. Bad Karma.
The astute reader may wonder what this post has to do with pork. Absolutely nothing is my answer, other than when I began looking more closely at the data that surround the enforcement efforts of the WSLCB, I began to think more and more about my favorite slow-smoked food. Perhaps it’s because pulled pork goes so well with Funyuns. Perhaps.
Hope to see you all at Hempfest this weekend (donate some money to the organization if you can … every dollar counts).