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How Secure Is A Patient Registry, When Washington Can’t Even Keep Law Enforcement Info Confidential?

Several bills introduced in the 2014 session of the Washington Legislature would have effectively killed medical marijuana in the state, but none of them passed. Each of the MMJ-killer bills died when the session ended Thursday night. At one time, it seemed almost a slam dunk that at least one of these execrable pieces of legislation — which would greatly reduce patient plant and possession limits and shut down all dispensaries in the state — would pass.

What happened?

According to inside information obtained by Toke Signals, a clash over taxes wasn’t the only reason the Washington Legislature’s medical marijuana-killer bills died in the session that ended Thursday night.

Arthur West: "When the government takes information, it's only as secure as the weakest link in the chain, and there are some pretty weak links in the chain"[Washington State Wire]

Arthur West:
“When the government takes information, it’s only as secure as the weakest link in the chain, and there are some pretty weak links in the chain”
[Washington State Wire]

Another reason the bills — which were supposedly meant to bring medical marijuana “into compliance” with recreational legalization measure I-502, approved by state voters in November 2012, died in the 2014 Legislature — was  a confidentiality breach from the state.

This breach highlighted the vulnerability of the highly sensitive info which would be contained in a medical marijuana patient registry, which helped change lawmakers’ minds, according to the Seattle-based Cannabis Action Coalition.

It all started with a public records request from Olympia activist Arthur West back on March 28, 2013. West had requested “all records concerning the application for and issue of secret licenses or license plates January of 2011 to present.” The Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) complied with the request, sending installments in April, May (two installments), June (two installments), July, August (two installments), September, October, November and December 2013, and February 2014.

But then something really interesting happened — something that would change the course of medical marijuana legislation in Washington, according to John Novak of the CAC. In an installment of records sent in March — on March 12, 2014 — the DOL sent West unredacted records of the “confidential” list of all law enforcement by license plate numbers, including personal information like names and home addresses.

Toke Signals obtained all the emails, and can definitively confirm that this March 12 email  contains unredacted personal info regarding law enforcement officers.

Screenshot 2014-03-15 11.00.09

All state and federal law enforcement in the state are included — the list is a de facto “registry,” much like the one law enforcement wanted of patients. All of the personal information that was supposed to be highly confidential and very secure was accidentally leaked in the emails.

John Novak, Cannabis Action Coalition

John Novak, Cannabis Action Coalition:
“They got the message loud and clear”

This, of course, highlighted the extreme vulnerability of a medical marijuana patient registry and the sensitive information contained therein. After all, how hard would it be for federal law enforcement to get ahold of such a registry, if a private citizen was “accidentally” given confidential information on every law enforcement officer in the state?

“So we emailed it to every single state Representative and state Senator, and I told them that this is exactly why we fear a registry,” Novak told Toke Signals Saturday morning. “They got the message loud and clear.”

Arthur West is more circumspect about the impact of the unredacted email sent to him, but he grants that it assured the bills’ doom. “My understanding is that the decision was pretty much made by then, but it certainly kept them from backsliding once the Governor started leaning on them,” he told us.

“When the government takes information, it’s only as secure as the weakest link in the chain, and there are some pretty weak links in the chain,” West told us Saturday morning. “Government information is not secure; that’s just the reality of life. You’ve got government officials watching it, and they’re not always the highest paid or the most alert.

“How secure is a registry going to be if someone can request public records and get the confidential license plates of DEA, FBI and DOJ agents?” West asked.

“This wasn’t an instance of hacking,” West pointed out. “This is just a citizen filing a records request. If someone really wanted this information, they would go to more extreme measures, and they would get it.”

Is Ezra For It Or Against It?

Ezra Eickmeyer, Washington Cannabis Association: "Where do you get your information?"

Ezra Eickmeyer,
Washington Cannabis Association:
“Did we play a big role in killing it in the House, hell yes.”

Marijuana businessman Ezra Eickmeyer of the Washington Cannabis Association sold classes — oh, wait, not “sold classes,” Ezra tells us he “held free informational meetings” at which admits he he “recruited money to pay for lobbyists to support the original version of 5887.” This guy, in other words, took donations for advice on how medical-marijuana providers and patients could avoid the bad effects I-502 would have upon the MMJ community, then actually lobbied for the bills, including SB 5887, which would effectively kill medical marijuana in the state by way of “folding in” medical marijuana into 502 — talk about playing both sides! (And oh, how very convenient for Ezra that the rules he advocated in 5887 would likely line his pockets — a fascinating coincidence!)

Eickmeyer takes at least partial credit for killing the very bills for which he testified in favor. (This reporter personally heard Eickmeyer testify for 5887 at a Senate committee hearing this session.)

“We supported 6542 to the end, but we went back and forth on 5887,” Eickmeyer told Toke Signals Saturday morning. “We opposed it in the Senate as it was written when it got to the floor and we learned there was not support for licensing the whole industry. When it then got to the House we were neutral and just trying to get the retail tax out of the bill, or should I say the exemption reinstated.

“Then Cody brought out her ‘just kill MMJ outright’ striker and both ASA [Americans for Safe Access] and us went into full opposition mode and started peeling votes away from both caucuses,” Eickmeyer said.

“Are we taking credit that we did it alone?” Eickmeyer rhetorically asked us. “Hell no. Did we play a big role in killing it in the House, hell yes.”

“Just because someone supports moving forward with a bill in the early stages doesn’t mean they can’t oppose it towards the end if it fucking sucks,” Eickmeyer equivocated. “Where do you get your information about what’s happening in Olympia?” (Editor’s note: Don’t be misled; the bill fucking sucked all along.) 

“The black and white, us vs. them bullshit people are feeding the community out there is so wildly misleading,” Eickmeyer said. I’ve been constantly demonized as trying to kill off medical out of greed for want of 502 profits. Are you fucking kidding me? Who was out campaigning against 502 during the election?”

“Who has held firm in Olympia against such actions, even moving to kill my own bill this year because it became bad for patients and their providers?” Eickmeyer asked. “Why do people buy into such divisive shit over and over?”

Eileen Cody’s Personal Vendetta Against Medical Marijuana

Rep. Eileen Cody got so mad at the medical marijuana community, she introduced a "striker" bill to "just kill MMJ"

Rep. Eileen Cody:
Got so mad at the medical marijuana community, she introduced a “striker” bill to “just kill MMJ”

Rep. Eileen Cody of West Seattle certainly deserves dishonorable mention for her last minute, Hail Mary move of introducing a stripped down “zombie” striker bill as a direct attack on the medical marijuana community, and in particular an attack upon Steve Sarich, who leads the Cannabis Action Coalition. Rep. Cody reportedly had developed a keen dislike for Sarich due to his fighting every single bill in Olympia which would have reduced safe access for MMJ patients — prominently including, of course, Cody’s HB 2149.

Cody and her Democratic allies reportedly tried to strip out everything in the bill that would force a two-thirds vote. The Democrats could have passed it all by themselves with a simple majority, but around a dozen of the rank-and-file members said “NO” in caucus.

That’s reputedly when Gov. Jay Inslee — who set his sights on the medical marijuana industry not long after being elected as a supposed “liberal” — tried to strong-arm House Democrats into passing something, anything, to “take down” medical marijuana in the state. Inslee’s strong-arm tactics didn’t work — so then he reportedly tried to strong-arm Republican Rep. Cary Condotta of East Wenatchee — who had authored a GOP amendment which would have shared the cannabis tax money with municipalities, instead of all of it going to the state —  into supporting the bill. Condotta reportedly didn’t have any of it.

“By that time we had legislators running around to find us, not the lobbyists,” Novak told us.

Whether Inslee imagines himself taking a stab at the Presidency, or perhaps has some financial stake in the success of recreational marijuana in the state (and thus, in his mind, the failure of medical marijuana), we don’t know. But he seems single-minded in his goal of closing down every dispensary in Washington state. Liberals who expected Inslee to take a compassionate stance towards safe access for medical marijuana patients have been greatly disappointed.

Dead, All Dead…

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles: Mad at Rep. Cody?

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles:
Mad at Rep. Cody?
[Humanities Washington]

Included in the carnage was SB 6542, which would have created a “cannabis industry coordinating committee” appointed by Governor Inslee, which means, of course, that it would be heavily stacked with those hostile to the medical marijuana community, perhaps salted with a token “representative” of MMJ — or at least one of the lame sellouts who favored the bills (you know who you are).

Rumor has it that Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles dropped that bill because she thought the Cannabis Action Coalition’s Steve Sarich supported it. Sarich, of course, was against 6542, and all the other legislation that came down the pike this year. The stance of the CAC was “kill all the bills” and leave medical cannabis alone until we see how recreational marijuana implementation unfolds under I-502.

There was also reportedly some kind of big falling out between Sen. Kohl-Welles and Rep. Cody, both Democrats. Insiders say the two lawmakers were quite unhappy with each other, but we haven’t heard the exact reason why.

Language which would have allowed home inspections of MMJ grows by the Washington State Liquor Control Board was disavowed by the LCB itself. Officials with the Board claimed there’s “no way” they would ever want to be involved with going into people’s homes. So, according to insiders, that means either law enforcement got that language slipped into the bill — after all, wouldn’t they just love to have that authority? — or perhaps one of the industry lobbyists.

 

  • Raoul Duke

    Wow, what a bunch of bumbling fools, an absolute comedy of errors. Makes me want to run for office, got to be easier than growing herb.

  • Russell Orsborn

    where to begin…how about thank you, Steve, for putting it all out there, maybe not all, but, enough to update more than just which law passed or died. We do like to know who is supporting us, (MMJ patients), and who is against us, and particularily, those who look like they support us, but actually do not, for whatever reason. So, yah…thank you

  • Raoul Duke

    Absolutely, thank you Steve.

  • AaronKightlinger

    Ha. Ha. Ha.

  • John Worthington

    We buy into it Ezra because the public records tell the real story. The media wants you as their mmj talking head so you can kill medical from within. You fucking failed. Every legislator in Olympia saw your Cascadia Growers I-502 prospectus and emails to the DOH, and LCB. They read your fucking book you moron. You I-502 shills spent at least $130,000 in lobbying and that doesn’t include the two people Bricken hired or what Boiter managed to grift.
    And you lost..lolololol.. The red shirts won it. Take your victory lap if it makes you feel special…Or if it helps your next grift…. But you can’t represent what law enforcement wants and keep getting away with it. You are outed. Enjoy some cheese with that whine.

  • John Worthington

    Ezra needs to spin this so he can grift some more collectives and dispensaries for lobbying next year.. Sure right pal.. You are going to fix medical for everyone..and de-incentivize medical at the same time. What? You thought the pot clubs would never see your emails and documents??/ asking for fewer patients and diverting them to I-502..The same I-502 you invested in.. We connected your dots. Your grifting territory will be limited in 2015.
    Nice try coppers. better bust someone else and get the media to install them as a MMJ movement head. This one has been outed and exposed.

  • Puffless

    So, is Eickmeyer really so ignorant he thinks that the general public, or bulk of patients, will be tricked by his two faced political tactics? I don’t feel like bothering with the bulk of this, but one thing really gets me,when he says “Who was out campaigning against 502 during the election?”
    It blows my fucking mind. A lot of people were out there fighting against 502, and I didn’t see that little weasel helping us one fucking time. All he did was fuck things up and make shit hard on everyone that was actually taking effective action. He is a god damn ass clown.

  • harry

    thank god 502 passed

  • Sandra Garcia

    I just want to know the Truth for all the Medical Cannabis Patients of Washington State. Ty John Novak!!!

  • Sandra Garcia

    Word Steve is totally Right!!! Absolutely Steve!!!

  • Doc O’Zee

    Slithering, slippery & utterly reptilian. Two faced, or two -assed?

  • Doc O’Zee

    The onslaught this legislative session was dizzying and difficult for average joes like me to keep up with! Thanks Steve Sarich, John Novak and the entire army that fought this through. Sending emails, making calls and other participation was feeling a bit futile to this too oft pessimist. Given the “Kill Med” mandate, this is, in my eyes, an upset victory and you who went tooth & nail with the Oly-garchy modern day Davids. Much Grass!

  • IzzyCAL

    I wrote to my legislators about IT security, since I used to work in high tech IT security, and I knew that the state could not keep a registry safe, nor would they want to spend the money, good IT security is very expensive, but no matter what, it just takes one person to send out sensitive info by mistake, and there you go. Same thing happened at a place I worked at, cost the company hundreds of thousands to fix, and that had only about 100 names on the list. The Target breach is going to cost Target millions. I bet every person who got a look at the breach from DOL thought, “Oh, no, that could have been ME.” And then realized how they were compromising not only the privacy, but the safety of patients. Not to mention the liability issues.

  • Mike Hemp

    Thanks to Steve Sarich and all those who made an effort to speak out against negative medical cannabis law, from the beginning to the end of, this legislative session we still have medical cannabis law that was approved by the voters in 1998. This would not be the case if it were not for Steve and the rest. The fight is not over, as those who have plotted to end medical cannabis will return with new attempts to change the law for various reasons be it money, prejudice, control, spite, taxes, etc. The fact is those people won’t accept the will of the people and the change that was voted for by the people in 2013 and 1998. They want to manipulate the laws into something other than what the public voted for. Maybe since some of those politicians who don’t want positive change, won’t change, they need to be changed with those who do.
    This year Reallegalization.org has a 2014 Washinton state cannabis initiative petition that is positive cannabis law to reaffirm medical home grows and allow home grows for all adults, also it includes additional positive cannabis law. This is what the public wants, help us get it on the ballot and it will be passed by the voters.
    Also if you really want to show your disatifaction with the politicians join Overgrow The World: 2014 Global Public Plantings . Planting seed everywhere as a form of political protest! Together we will make change happen!

  • Shelly

    Great story Steve, this is fucking insane! This is the first I’m hearing of any of this.

  • perenial

    1. Ezra is for Ezra. It is not more complicated than that. If Ezra sees money is supporting a bill, he is for it. If he sees a paycheck in working against a bill, then he is against it. The author is working from a mistaken premise when he asks what Ezra is for in principle. Principle is irrelevant to what Ezra is for.
    2. Do you really think Cody or Kohl-Welles opposed (or supported any bill based on her feelings about Sarich ? Really ? You don’t think their support or rejection for a bill might hinge on a million other things than that ? You really think they are writing bills or opposing them motivated by their personal feelings about Sarich, like they even have the time to worry about one personality ? Do you even think they have the energy for such petty pursuits ? Wise up. You are capable of better analysis than that. That is just dumb (or lazy, or both, but certainly dumb).

  • painkills2

    Great news for Washington, congratulations!

  • brown

    Thanks steve for all the work. Did 502 do away with mmj? did the people give the state the right to shut down mmj? Are judges going to get involved in this fight if mmj is shut down?

  • Chris

    It is obvious Ezra has lost his “juice” and will probably not be doing the same job in the future if he can’t get something that works. Cody will be pushed out of office for sure this next election. This sessions was rough but the next elections will be much worse. It is time to start removing unscrupulous representatives and senators.

  • Tannim

    This is EXACTLY why Washington should not look at Colorado as the model for RMJ. It’s a mess down here because the CO Governor, like Inslee, is anti-MJ (here he’s pro-alcohol) and stacked the deck in a similar manner that 6542 would have done.

    Glad all those bills died. If Olympia was smart, they’d leave MJ alone. If Denver was smart, they would reverse course and do likewise.

  • Christian Radcliff

    Amazing stuff, its scary what we are learning.

  • Steve Elliott ~alapoet~

    There are very inside sources in a much better position than you to know about the motivations of both Cody and Kohl-Welles. If I revealed them they’d get fired. So I know more than you do about this – find a way to deal with that.

  • Charles Wynott

    thanks steve great work

  • perenial

    Are those sources who told you what was inside the heads of Kohl-Welles and Cody people who were closely related, or sleeping with them, because that is what it would take to see what is in their heads and know their most intimate thoughts. Even if someone would vote that way based on that, no person over age 16 would admit it out loud. Or were those sources the people who felt dissed themselves, people who considered themselves so important that a state senator or rep would forgo all the other considerations for voting for or against a piece of legislation (such considerations as: the feelings of their constituents, or lobbying, or their personal views on the issues, or because of federal pressure, or a desire to increase tax revenue) ? Because if it is a person affiliated with the “diss” it would be more than ridiculous to take that as a credible source for an unreasonable claim. Are your sources close enough to Kohl-Welles and Cody to know what is in their heads ? Does it sound reasonable to you that two (not one odd one, but “two”) legislators would throw out all the other considerations and vote strictly on how they feel about two people they probably barely know ? Does that really sound reasonable, or does it sound more like someone heard an offhand, unflattering comment and blew it all out of reasonable proportion, changing them from mere derogatory statements to sole (if wacky) motivations? Or does that sound like lazy, unreasonable, perhaps self-important, conjecture ?
    If they really only cared about their visceral reactions to two characters, what were all the amendments about ? Were they fine-tuning their spite ? Or maybe they were trying to change a bill in a way that suited all the other motivations they had for voting the ways that they did. As a reasonable person, I am going with the late.

    Steve, the idea that two legislators threw out all the other considerations in order to vote on a bill based on their feelings about some distant people sounds unreasonable.

  • Farmer Greensleeves

    Thank you once again to Steve Elliot , Steve Sarich , John Novak , Arthur West and all meidcal cannabis activists on Washington State and around the country .

  • Steve Elliott ~alapoet~

    Yes, they are close enough to know.

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  • nedmorlef

    just remember folks that what you see is what you get. the knowledge that you are learning about how gov’t insiders work against you in all of life . Not just pot ,should wake you up to all of the corruption.

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