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Date: To: From:

March 26, 2012 Lacey Planning Commission David R. Burns, AICP, Principal Planner, Joseph Upton, Commander, Lacey Police Department enforcement concerns with different scenarios for collective gardens

Subject: Third focused work-session: Law enforcement issues; comparison of law

I Introduction: At the last work-session the PC reviewed the cooperative model proposed by the non profits for organization of multiple collective gardens into one organization. The Planning Commission reviewed the mechanics of the model, the requirements of state law and what other jurisdictions are doing. The chair polled the members thoughts on how the cooperative model fit within the context of the state requirements and the Planning Commission was split. To help clarify issues the Planning Commission requested staff to come back with specifics on law enforcement concerns to help put the different options in perspective considering impacts expected from different scenarios. Planning staff met with Joseph Upton from the Police Department and both Ken Ahlf, City Attorney and David Schneider, Assistant City Attorney to discuss law enforcement concerns. It was decided to schedule a focused work-session to present detailed law enforcement concerns on various scenarios for the Planning Commissions review. This report with a summary provides an overview of the Police Departments analysis and concerns. Joseph Upton and David Schneider will both be at the Planning Commission meeting to provide a detailed description of the problems with the different scenarios. II Summary conclusions: The position of the City Attorneys office, Police Department, having firsthand experience in enforcement of existing drug laws, and Planning staff in reviewing land use options for enforcement, is the cooperative model is far more difficult to enforce and essentially provides an opportunity for a store front for selling drugs. The cooperative model allows establishment of a dispensary, as described in the original ESSSB 5073 legislation before the governors veto, without any state oversight.

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With the cooperative model we do not know where the marijuana is being produced, we do not know who is producing it, we do not know where to go to inspect the crop, or who to talk to in reviewing conformance to state law. With a rotating customer base we do not know who is involved in the collective gardens. The cooperative model represents a very big process and operation that is too complex for the City to try and regulate. The City cannot take on management of dispensaries; they are not permitted by state law or federal law and would put all of the involved staff at risk. In addition, management of enforcement is not possible logistically, considering where the growing operations are allegedly taking place across multiple jurisdictions. Additionally, under state law it is very easy to buy an authorization for medical marijuana. Because authorizations are easy to get, convenience for patients also becomes convenience for those that want to use it for recreational purposes. With unlicensed dispensaries, or a cooperative model that achieves the same functionality, the availability of marijuana is simply out of hand. The ease of obtaining authorization for medical marijuana can be seen simply by looking on the internet. A number of companies build advertisement on seeing patients the same day, providing legal support of its use as an alternative medicine and offering stress free experience to obtain a medical marijuana card of authorization: Below is an example of a customer review left on the internet for an office that provides medical marijuana recommendations in California. He explains he went to the office and brought his friends and because he referred them he was given his next years recommendation for free:
Reviewed by: admiralxj69 (1 reviews) June 24 2010

came here with a groups of friends, since i brought them in i got my rec for next year free! they guys there are hella nice and it was just fun being there. Location: Price: Renewal Price: Staff: Wait Time:

California is having similar issues as Washington in dealing with the issue of medical marijuana. The cooperative model is an invitation to drug dealers to set up a storefront shop. It is estimated one of the local non-profits has been dealing over $300,000.00 dollars of marijuana through its storefront each month. A picture posted on its

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face book page before the raid displayed garbage bags full of money. This is likely the type of drug activity the Federal Government considers a major drug operation and in direct violation of Federal and State law. When discussing operation of the dispensaries in Mukilteo with the Police Chief, he was very frustrated with the blatant advertisement of marijuana for sale for recreation use. He suggested I go online to see how the dispensaries have advertised their products. Descriptions of product displayed on the internet at one of the nonprofit dispensaries in Mukilteo, talks about a certain strain being Good for a social smoke. It is not the type of description we would expect to see of what medical benefits it has for patients. One of the descriptions stated it was a Buzz you would want to share with your friends.

Bud Menu
Strains start @ 9.00 pr gram donation

Bubble gum
These are smaller compact buds, very light green with orange hairs. Has a good cure with a nice snap, burns fast so watch out. Frsty and fruity, reminiscent to original bubble gum. High is a little energetic but not to much, good for a social smoke or day time.

It is clear, that the marijuana market being served by dispensaries is bigger than the medical cannabis patient community. The Thurston County drug task force recently raided both of the local non-profits and felony charges have been filed against proprietors of both. The police department and the City Attorneys office have both stated they will not support

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the cooperative model as a valid option under the state law. This is why the interim ordinance has been drafted to clarify that the rotating customer base method (whereby members are revoked after the purchase of marijuana to try and stay within the ten member limit of state law) is invalid. The Police Department has also stated enforcement of smaller collective gardens confined to the zones specified in the interim ordinance will be much easier to enforce as it will strictly limit the availability of medical marijuana. They will be able to walk into a collective garden, look to see who are the authorized patients and confirm the legitimacy of how many plants are being grown, who is growing it and who has access to it. Provisions in the interim ordinance were formulated by the City Attorneys office, in cooperation with the police department. Provisions of the ordinance are designed to place the highest priority on law enforcement. Collective gardens operating under the parameters of the interim ordinance will be enforceable, whereas the cooperative model is not. II Bullet Points to be discussed: A. Enforcement concerns with Dispensaries (Under a cooperative model): Where is product coming from. Who is growing the marijuana. Cross boundary jurisdiction, not possible to verify who, where or what. Creates a dispensary with no state oversight and no ability for a local jurisdiction to manage. Significant cash flow going through the business; $300,000 plus estimated. Non profit does not mean someone cannot make a significant income off illegal drug traffic. The Feds would likely consider this a major drug operation. A unlicensed dispensary welcomes a front for major drug trafficking into the community. Authorization is too easy to get, examples. Officers have arrested individuals several times on possession charges and find on the next stop the person has acquired an authorization card because he has headaches. The convenience of obtaining authorization and marijuana is way beyond the intent of helping chronic patients deal with serious medical issues. A dispensary helps facilitate access to everyone including recreational users.

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Both dispensaries are operating without a business license, and in violation of state, local and Federal laws. The simple fact is there is an incredible amount of money being made off the sale of marijuana at both non-profit dispensaries. The dispensaries reopened after a raid by both Federal and local law enforcement. Enforcement of laws at the non-profits is currently requiring litigation and is already difficult. This situation is not expected to change, even with a local ordinance that makes it clear they are not permitted to operate. Why would anyone think they would comply with administrative requirements and standards if we had an ordinance that tried to accommodate the cooperative model?

B. Enforcement with small 10 person gardens is much less complex when limited to commercial and industrial zones and the standards of the interim ordinance Easy to regulate by on site visit. Conditions of ordinance provide access to view, count and verify. We can count plants, see list of 10 patients, know who is growing, who is a patient and where marijuana is going. It is limited in scope and easy to validate.

III Work-session expectations: The Planning Commission will be briefed on the enforcement issues discussed above by Joseph Upton. David Schneider will also be available to answer questions regarding enforcement issues. Based upon the information provided to staff, it is clear an option for allowing this model to operate is not going to be a viable alternative for Council. Regardless of interpretations a few other jurisdictions might have made, the Council would not be expected to ignore the position of the Police Department and the City Attorney on a legal issue, drug enforcement concerns and public safety. Staff recommends the Planning Commission consider the issues the Police Department has brought forward and alternatives for making collective gardens work under the restrictions and authority permitted under state law as explained by the City Attorneys office. One of the issues brought up was the expectation the ordinance would need to open up collective gardens to additional zones to address the market demand if patient access was the intent. This is another issue and has its own complexities. This will be discussed as a separate focused issue at a future work-session.

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