Judge Calls State Cannabis Board Actions ‘Arbitrary & Capricious’

Judge Calls State Cannabis Board Actions ‘Arbitrary & Capricious’

420leaks Press Release

legalize-court

Contact info:

John Worthington (Plaintiff, 420leaks contributor)
(425) 919-3910
worthingtonjw2u@hotmail.com

John Novak (witness, 420leaks editor)
(206) 915-3450
420leaks@gmail.com
Subject: Judge Calls State Cannabis Board Actions ‘Arbitrary and Capricious’

In October of 2014, Olympia resident Arthur West obtained public records from the Washington State Liquor Control Board showing that there were 17 secret public meetings held during the rulemaking for I-502. [1]

During the West lawsuit, the Washington State Liquor Control Board tried to argue there was a working copy of the I-502 rulemaking file, but that argument was denied by the Thurston County Superior court.

Soon many other public records from the West case made its way to 420leaks.com [2], a site that gathers public records and other information regarding marijuana.

In these documents were evidence of a partnership between many groups, including treatment professionals, law enforcement organizations, the Association of Washington Cities, other notable non-profit government groups, and the Washington State Liquor Control Board. [3]

After reviewing many documents of the partnership’s conduct during I-502 rulemaking, John Worthington of Renton filed a lawsuit challenging the acts of the partnership during the rulemaking process in January of 2015.

Worthington requested to review the I-502 rulemaking file used to develop I-502 rules and was told that the original rulemaking file no longer existed, but that a ”final” copy of the rulemaking file was made available to him.   Several other researchers made the same request and were given differing results.

He then requested an electronic copy through the public records act and was told he was given the “initial” copy of the rulemaking file.

At that point, Worthington filed a petition to adopt, amend and repeal with the Washington State Liquor Control Board and asked them to repeal the rules for I-502 because they tampered with the rulemaking file after the rules for I-502 were made.

Worthington made a rules challenge pursuant to RCW 34.05.375, which challenges the validity of rules that are not developed properly by adhering to several statutes. One of those statutes is the rulemaking file.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board ruled Worthington did not cite any specific rules to be repealed and also ruled they followed the proper procedures for rulemaking outlined in RCW 34.05.375.

Worthington filed a judicial review of that decision. [4]

On May 6, 2016, the Thurston County Superior Court Judge Anne Hirsch ruled the agency decision to deny the petition was arbitrary and capricious and remanded the matter back to the Washington State Liquor Control Board.

Worthington was not satisfied with the decision, as the court had not made a ruling on the rules validity challenge and requested the trial court to answer the issue of whether there was such a thing as a “final” copy of the rulemaking file.  He also asked the court to determine if the rules could still be valid without an “original” rulemaking file.

The court would not rule on that issue despite the fact the issue was before the agency and argued in three briefs to the trial court.

It was reasoned that Worthington had not objected to a rulemaking file not being placed into the agency record.

Worthington’s position is that the agency had the responsibility to provide the rulemaking file for a rules review.

He also argued the Washington State Liquor Control Board has admitted the original rulemaking file does not exist, so it is futile to add a final copy to the record.

Worthington also feels the remand to the agency is futile because they have already admitted once the board developed the rules, Karen McCall, the rules Coordinator at the time, permanently altered the rulemaking file, and thus invalidated the rules for I-502.

Now he has to file an interlocutory appeal with the Appellate court in an attempt to get a court to answer the question no court seems to want to answer.

Is there such a thing as a ”final” copy of a rulemaking file, and are the rules for I-502 invalidated because the  Washington State Liquor Control Board rules coordinator decided to remove documents from a rulemaking file after the board had made rules?

To make matters worse, the original board, consisting of Sharon Foster, Chris Marr, and Ruthann Kurose have admitted under oath they never authorized a “final” or “working” copy of a rulemaking file. Even worse yet is that removing public documents is a class C felony.

As of now, justice seems to elude Worthington and the Washington State justice system has appeared to suborn felony crimes, enabling the Washington State Liquor Control Board to make a mockery of the rulemaking process, without any real consequences other than giving them another chance to lie their way out of being held accountable.

Perhaps a billion dollar industry is special enough to warrant such special treatment, but to the rest of us that are expected to pay traffic tickets and obey the law it is a slap in the face.

[1] Judge Finds WSLCB Broke the Law 17 Times Making I-502 Rules:
http://420leaks.com/?p=631

[2] 420leaks.com Public Records Database from Arthur West:
https://app.box.com/s/46qnsr90gnnazb3d2r0t/1/2878026511

[3] I-502: OPMA, MMJ, Public Records and the “Partnership”:
http://420leaks.com/?p=689

[4] Motion to the court:
https://app.box.com/s/46qnsr90gnnazb3d2r0t/1/2733141802/62085057609/1

All 420leaks public records available at
https://app.box.com/s/46qnsr90gnnazb3d2r0t