420leaks is a media project that sprung from board meetings of the Cannabis Action Coalition (CAC), a Seattle-based activist group primarily focused on patient protection. The website 420leaks.org was officially launched in July of this year by its lead editor, medical cannabis patient and advocate John Novak. Contributing researchers to date are CAC executive director and founder Steve Sarich, Arthur West and John Worthington.
Its purpose is to act as both a government and industry watchdog group, exposing the public and news media to a new approach to the Drug War: restrictive zoning/licensing that favors corporations over people, unscientific DUID laws that guarantee more convictions of non-impaired drivers, and the use of federal contracts to get around state cannabis laws.
Our researchers have obtained the information primarily through Public Records Requests to state agencies and officials along with exhaustive daily monitoring of all the various state bills, local ordinances and news that will have an effect on patients and their providers.
One might think the passage of I-502 would have been a benefit for patients. In many ways it has. There is an increased awareness of the medical value because many people are no longer afraid to speak out. Some jurisdictions also dropped pending criminal charges. Other states and even countries are beginning to have debates and passing new laws.
Unfortunately, these policies have resulted in the reduction of rights and access for patients that use cannabis for medical purposes in many areas of the state. Allowing home grows and collective gardening under state law is a necessary foundation for ensuring safe access, reduced prices and driving out the black market from our neighborhoods.
Over 50 cities and counties have declared “emergencies” and adopted moratoriums or emergency interim zoning on medical cannabis gardens due to the perceived impacts of recreational cannabis under I-502.
420leaks has released documents that prove the state and federal government officials, along with corporate interests, have been complicit in an ongoing effort to end the medical cannabis laws and its emerging market in Washington State as we know it. This is done primarily through HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) and other federal police grant programs with cities, counties and states. These grant contracts for federal programs are not enforceable under federal law; however, they are the primary weapon used by local jurisdictions to undermine state cannabis laws.
This week, the Washington State Liquor Control Board was forced by public testimony, legal actions and internet exposure by 420leaks and the Cannabis Action Coalition to address these critical issues by doing a state required Environmental Impact Study.
While this could delay licensing of producers, processors and retailers for months, if not years, it will force government to sit down with itself and come up with answers to these and other concerns before more good people are raided and end up with prison sentences for growing as is happening with medical cannabis. And that includes getting a direct answer from the federal government on what their responses will be once production and sales begin for the recreational market.
In the theme of this year’s Seattle Hempfest “No Federal Schedule” August 16-18, 420leaks will work to help remove cannabis from both the federal Controlled Substances Act, along with its removal in the state Controlled Substances Act.
Doing so will allow the federal and state conflicts to be resolved and allow for a more prosperous local, national and world economy. Protecting Industrial, Medical, Horticultural, Scientific, and responsible Social uses of cannabis for everyone, regardless of economic or racial background is vital to our children’s future. It also ensures protection for those suffering from serious health conditions.
420leaks John Novak at Seattle Hempfest 2013:
FRIDAY, AUGUST 16th – MCWILLIAMS STAGE @ 4:45pm
SATURDAY, AUGUST 17th – MAIN STAGE @ 11:40am
SATURDAY, AUGUST 17th – HEMPOSIUM PANEL: @ 3:00 – 3:40pm (Activism How-To: You Can Make a Difference, with Robert Platshorn, Melissa Hysom, Sam Chapman, Michael Krawitz, John Novak)
Learn how you can help 420leaks.org by visiting our website and joining our Facebook page: 420leaks.