Saturday, January 10, 2015

Liquor Control Board Transparency Washington state

My friend Gina Garcia recently brought this to my attention through a Washington medical cannabis facebook group.

"Uni Con

Today I stopped by WSLCB, and it was very enjoyable, and sort of amazing. I must first say kudos to Arthur because he clearly got under their skin and they seemed quite raw with me referring to his recent litigation. I went in asking about where they would be publishing future public meeting notices for organized law enforcement meetings and for AWC meetings (see, John, I do read the documents you post ). And, the receptionist didn’t know what I was talking about, so she found someone else who vaguely knew what I was talk about. 

Soon, I had four people sitting in the lobbying: the public records chief, head of the cannabis project, some lawyer, and someone else. And the cannabis chief and lawyer asked me what I wanted and I told them I was searching for their new public meetings practices in these specific cases. And they gave me a primer on the Public Records Act. And I told them I understood all of that and I was interested to know where they would post meetings with HWC and AWC specifically. And they tried to change to subject a little, and I brought them back to that. And they told me they weren’t necessarily required to. And I referred to Arthur’s recent case, which I had read. And all they would answer was “That has been resolved.” And I said, “I am asking about the future, what your future practices will be.”

 The public records guy kept asking me questions, like he was trying to identify me, and he would occasionally run back to his office and then come back and ask me other identifying questions, so it was very obvious. So, the head guy and attorney guy were trying to obfuscate and change the discussion to avoid answering about their future reporting practices. 

Finally, I asked, so you disagree with Judge Schaller’s ruling. And the head guys face turned bright red with anger, and he repeated “That issue has been resolved.” And I said, “Has it ? I thought there was going to be a mens rea hearing. Has that already happened ?” 

I was being calm and polite the whole time. Then I calmly said, “Excuse me. It seems like you are giving me defensive, evasive answers and I can’t figure out why you would do that if you are conforming to the law.” And the attorney guy said, “You are trying to get me to say what you want to say. You are trying to trap me.” Which seemed sort of weird and dramatic. So I responded, “I can’t make you say anything. I am just trying to get an idea whether you will be changing your practices in the future, or whether you intend to continue carrying on in the same way. But you have told me exactly what I wanted to know, so thank you so much for your time.” And they just stared at me. So I held out my hand to shake theirs and I left. My takeaway is that they intend to continue down the same road, hoping they wont be caught and that Arthur hit them where it hurt. And watching their heads nearly pop off was really enjoyable for me."

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