First I am going to say, trying to appeal to the city for any sort of consequence for another organization is not typically how I like to operate. I am a bit more raw and personal, and I handle things a bit differently.
However in the case of Hempfest, I find this entirely appropriate to start with, because Hempfest leans on the city of Seattle’s favoritism to avoid the legal parameters that Hempfest themselves expect others to follow.
For a great example of this, in 2013 Seattle Hempfest threatened online and then pursued a man at Hempfest who simply wanted to roll “The World’s Largest Joint”, which has been sort of a tradition at Hempfest, and never before was it a problem.
Except when John Davis (VP of Hempfest, and part owner of one of the most prolific recreational I-502 shops in Seattle), who say this man as competition, and shut him down. Even to the point that Hempfest called the police on him, and the police said “what he is doing is legal”, and Hempfest STILL insisted that it was a felony, and threw him out of the park.
Reference this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f10mGU_j6bo
See this blog that I wrote up in 2013 on the whole incident, including online threats from Hempfest to multiple people;
From Steve Sarich, to the Seattle of Seattle regarding how Hempfest expects that other people follow the rules, but they appear to be above the law.
August 14, 2017
TO: Seattle City Council Members Lisa Herbold,
Bruce Harrell, Kshama Sawant, Rob Johnson,
Debora Juarez, Mike O’Brien, Sally Bagshaw,
Tim Burgess, Lorena González, Mayor Ed
Murray, and City Attorney Pete Holmes
RE: Unlawful Operation of Marijuana
Club in Myrtle Edwards Park in
Violation of RCW 69.50.465
FROM: Steve Sarich
City of Seattle Officials: Please consider this as formal notice of, and a complaint concerning, the authorization and approval issued by the City and the City Attorney, under your authority, for the felonious operation of an illegal “marijuana club” in Myrtle Edwards Park on August 18, 19, and 20, 2017 by Seattle Events, dba Hempfest.
This organization, with your explicit and implicit approval, and the aid and assistance of each of you, intends to violate RCW 69.50.465 by establishing, in a public park, (See RCW 66.04.010(36) “smoking areas” and “VIP areas” where marijuana will be held and stored and where consumption will be permitted, (See RCW 69.50.465(2)) and by conduct(ing) or maintain(ing) a premises for the primary or incidental purpose of providing a location where members or other persons may keep or consume marijuana on the premises.(See RCW 69.50.465(4)(a))
In addition, since Seattle Events, dba Hempfest, is charging $100 for “VIP Passes” to access smoking areas in the park, the VIP smoking areas would meet the definition under RCW 69.50.465(4)(a) of “any place to which admission is charged or for which any pecuniary gain is realized by the owner or operator of such place”
Please realize that the law expressly provides that “It is unlawful for any person to conduct or maintain a marijuana club by himself or herself or by associating with others, or in any manner aid, assist, or abet in conducting or maintaining a marijuana club.” This criminal statute, the violation of which is a felony, will be violated by each of you in continuing to approve, aid, assist, and abet Seattle Events in conducting felonious activities, with your knowledge and complicity, in a Seattle park, and such violation may be seen to be not only a felony, but an act of mis- or malfeasance for which a recall petition would be appropriate.
For your reference, the relevant portions of the cited statutes are appended below.
Conducting or maintaining marijuana club—Penalty.
(1) It is unlawful for any person to conduct or maintain a marijuana club by himself or herself or by associating with others, or in any manner aid, assist, or abet in conducting or maintaining a marijuana club.
(2) It is unlawful for any person to conduct or maintain a public place where marijuana is held or stored, except as provided for a licensee under this chapter, or consumption of marijuana is permitted.
(3) Any person who violates this section is guilty of a class C felony punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW.
(4) The following definitions apply throughout this section unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
(a) “Marijuana club” means a club, association, or other business, for profit or otherwise, that conducts or maintains a premises for the primary or incidental purpose of providing a location where members or other persons may keep or consume marijuana on the premises.
(b) “Public place” means, in addition to the definition provided in RCW 66.04.010, any place to which admission is charged or for which any pecuniary gain is realized by the owner or operator of such place.
RCW 66.04.010 Definitions.
In this title, unless the context otherwise requires:…
(36) “Public place” includes… publicly owned bathing beaches, parks, and/or playgrounds; and all other places of like or similar nature to which the general public has unrestricted right of access, and which are generally used by the public.
Please acknowledge receipt of this complaint and be so kind as to explain to me what each of you, and the City, intends to do to ensure that you are not aiding, assisting, or abetting in any manner the violation of RCW 69.50.465 by Seattle Events in its maintenance of a marijuana club, i.e. Hempfest, with your approval and consent.
Please also be advised, that in the absence of any response, I will be forced to conclude that not only are the Seattle City Council and City Attorney brazenly committing felonious acts, but that each of you are further unwilling to even attempt to explain what appears to be deliberate and willful criminal conduct by public and elected officials of the City of Seattle.
Thank you for your consideration.
C.C., King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg, Washington State Attorney General Robert Fergussen, U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes, Rick Garza, WSLCB.