Update On Seized I-1068 Petitions

May 24, 2010

I wanted to give you all an update on the status of the signed I-1068 petitions which were seized by federally-funded WestNET personnel in a raid of the North End 420 Club in Tacoma two weeks ago. The 420 Club is operating as a medical marijuana dispensary.

Two of the seized petitions will be returned to us promptly, according to a WestNET detective I spoke with earlier this morning. They will be picked up by our Bremerton coordinator from the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office evidence room, likely before the end of today.

These two petitions have been photocopied and I have asked WestNET to destroy those photocopies. They tell me they cannot without an agreement between the prosecution and defense because, well, that’s the way these things work. We will be working to make that agreement happen, but it will take some time. My sense of things, from talking with the WestNET detective, is that no one on the law enforcement side will oppose the destruction of those photocopies.

Why were they seized as evidence in the place? The WestNET detective I spoke with said their search warrant authorized them to take any kind of list or ledger they encountered during their search. That’s their explanation. I simply wish the officers who conducted the raid would’ve used a bit more discretion when they were grabbing lists and ledgers because I-1068 petitions are clearly marked as an initiative to the people and even have formal language directed to Secretary of State Sam Reed. Not exactly evidence of criminal activity.

The remaining problem is that the 420 Club people insist that there were 10 signed petitions seized in the raid and WestNET tells me they only have two and that they have gone through their evidence boxes from the raid and there are no other copies of the petition. So we’ve got a discrepancy here that I cannot account for. Neither can WestNET or the 420 Club. My hope is that these missing eight petitions will turn up later somewhere in the chain of evidence and be returned to us before July 2, our deadline to submit signed petitions to the Secretary of State.

My fingers are officially crossed both for the missing petitions and for the 420 Club people as they begin to defend themselves against charges all because our state’s medical marijuana law is vague–even the WestNET detective agrees with me on this–and offers slim protection to people providing physician-authorized medicine to legitimate patients.

The 420 Club raid is another example of why it is imperative to get I-1068 on the ballot, so if you haven’t signed the initiative please do so. If you’d like to volunteer to help gather signatures, please fill out our volunteer form right here and we’ll be in touch promptly. We only have until the end of June to get this done, so let’s all get this done.

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