Tom Lauerman: Fighting the pot market merger
I asked Tom Lauerman, a Vancouver medical marijuana grower and activist, if he could give us his take on the changes to medical marijuana in 5052 (which merges the medical and recreational marijuana systems in the state and creates a patient registry, among other things) that were signed into law last week by Gov. Jay Inslee.
Those in the recreational side of the industry have been largely supportive of 5052 (although they’re more concerned with 2136, which hasn’t yet passed but would deal with many of the tax problems those companies face). Many recreational marijuana stores and growers have expressed interest in serving the medical market.
On the flip side, several groups in the medical marijuana community are working to fight the changes with Referendum 75, a new campaign which was announced on Monday.
It in the early stages, but the referendum would put the changes in SB 5052 up to a vote by the people. Before that happens, however, they will need to collect about 150,000 signatures.
Below is Tom’s commentary and some more details on the referendum.
Tom Lauerman: Thoughts on pot law changes
By Farmer Tom Lauerman
Garden of the Green Sun
It was a sad day for our 17-year-old medical cannabis community when Governor Jay Inslee Signed SB-5052 into State Law.
This bill was forced on us by the federal government and Department Of Justice; bought and paid for by big money, which has an interest in doing away with Medical Marijuana as we know it.
The feds intend to lower cannabis from a Schedule 1 drug to a Schedule 2, and by doing so they will hand OUR voter approved medicine, cottage industry and green economy over to big pharma and big business; as no one else will be able to afford to play unless it is DESCHEDULED entirely.
It’s not over however.
Yesterday cannabis patients filed Referendum Measure #75 to combat this onslaught; BUT in order to get this Washington constitution referendum on the ballot in November, the petitioners need to collect 155,000 valid signatures by July 24.
News from our neighbors in Oregon indicates their legislators are pushing for the same type of bill that would also destroy their medical marijuana industry and cause the loss of so many Jobs that are sorely needed right now.
What’s going on in Baltimore right now (with rioting) is just a microcosm of the futility that has built up around this country as there is almost little or no hope left for the small guy.
With our politicians being so easily swayed by the money available from big business where does this leave the rest of us?
So I’m going to take a deep breath and move forward into something much more positive, like educating the public on everything cannabis while we still can!
Our present plan at the Garden of the Green Sun (Medical Collective) is to combine our many years of experience with others who are the best in the industry to create a series of classes on “Organic and Sustainable Growing and Processing” procedures to help ensure our roots stay in place during this changing political environment.
The recent signing of SB 5052 and its potential effects for 2016 has motivated me to educate as many people as possible in the growing, processing and history of cannabis.
Our classes will start the first weekend in June here on our farm in Vancouver. For more info go to www.FarmerTomOrganics.com.
Here’s a bit more on the referendum from the Washington Secretary of State’s office:
A referendum challenge has been filed to the newly signed medical marijuana law, SB5052.
Sections vetoed by Governor Inslee, those with an emergency clause, and some other sections not included by the sponsor would not being referred to the voters.
The description of the process, sponsor contact and complete text for Referendum 75 have just been posted to our website.
The referendum is being transmitted to the Attorney General for preparation of a ballot title. That will be done by May 4. The ballot title can be appealed to Superior Court after that.
Once there is a final ballot title, the sponsors can begin collecting signatures of registered voters. (The referendum needs 123,186 signatures).
We recommend submitting enough to cover duplicate or invalid signatures, or at least 150,000 to 155,000 total. Deadline for submission is July 24. If validated, the referendum would be on the statewide General Election ballot in the fall.