Posted by: sweeneyblog | April 17, 2015

Friday Odds and Ends: Taxes, Weed and TPP

Hello Loyal Readers, vertebra_fractureboy is it good to be back. Three weeks ago, I managed to fracture one of my vertebra (see right) and I’ve just now been healed up enough to catch up on all that I missed, so I’m sorry for the lack of posting.

Without further ado, let’s go to the triumphant return of the Friday Odds and Ends.

In Olympia, the clock is ticking down to the end of session and one of the main points of contention are the dueling transportation packages. You might remember this as the thing that Sen. Doug Ericksen and his Republican allies stonewalled last year that would have created hundreds of jobs in Whatcom County repairing our streets, roads and bridges. Currently, the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democrat-controlled House have each passed a version of the package and they are duking it out over how to merge them. Below is a little table, numbers courtesy of the Association of Washington Cities, that shows how much our area would receive in state transportation funds:

House Plan Senate Plan
Whatcom County $7,047,397 $4,784,304
Bellingham $4,034,380 $2,738,841
Blaine $238,800 $162,115
Everson $193,142 $131,119
Ferndale $634,364 $430,654
Nooksack $65,570 $44,514
Sumas $84,531 $57,386
Total $12,298,184.00 $8,348,933.00

In other legislative news, the state has finally begun to seriously regulate the medical marijuana business. Since medical marijuana was legalized in Washington, many of the dispensaries have operated in a sort of legal limbo, unable to file taxes for fear of federal involvement and with several loosely defined restrictions over “collective gardens” where the dispensaries would be the designated grower for a specific patient.



This year, the legislature changed that by folding medical marijuana under the auspices of the Liquor Control Board. They eliminated the collective gardens model. Patients will have to register into a designated database, will be issued a registration card that allows them to carry more marijuana than the current legal limit and provides more protections from arrest. They will be able to grow plants in their homes, and retail stores can become certified to sell medical-grade marijuana to card-holding patients. The governor is expected to sign the bill in the next week or so.

In the wake of forty-seven Republican senators interfering in peace negotiations with Iran, the Republican-controlled Senate reached a deal to cede power to President Obama to negotiate trade agreements with less oversight, a process dubbed “Fast Track.” This is seen as a key step toward approving the Trans Pacific Partnership (known as TPP), a trade deal that has become a flashpoint for economic justice advocates locally.

One of the key objections to TPP is that it would allow foreign companies to seek financial compensation from the United States government for complying with American laws – a provision that sets off warning bells in the labor and environmental community. There is a rally at Pioneer Park in Ferndale this Saturday at 1 p.m. in opposition to TPP hosted by the Washington Labor and Fair Trade Advocates.

That’s all folks! Stay tuned for more legislative coverage this weekend!



  1. Reilly – you may want to inform your Democratic Party friends in Olympia that they have just insulted the citizens of Washington State with their “regulation” (aka destruction) of medicinal cannabis via Bill 5052. Normally, you expect Republicans to develop policy based on ignorance and a desire to punish but apparently State Democrats want to make criminals of people who are currently operating within the law. I guess we need more inmates! I’ll be writing more on this later but here are a few salient facts on the new law:
    1) It taxes a non-toxic, mildly habit-forming herbal medicine at a higher rate than toxic, addictive, and dangerous liquor (the only medicine to be so taxed, incidentally);
    2) It forces people who use cannabis medicine to submit to a central registry – a clear violation of HPAA – also the only medicine to have this odious requirement;
    3) It maintains the prohibition on people growing their own, and severely limits the quantities patients can grow;
    4) It creates a new felony for sharing marijuana – apparently the people of Washington State who voted to legalize cannabis in 2 separate initiatives can be ignored and insulted – with this new prohibition lite.

    You might think that Washington lawmakers would learn from the far superior Colorado model – seeing it has produced ten times the revenue and was up and running a full year before Washington’s – but instead they have doubled down on the stupidity like insane prohibitionists. It’s a shameful development that is guaranteed to lose votes for Democrats. Why vote Democrat when they implement Republican policies? WHy donate? Why volunteer? Because apparently Democrats have the same contempt for Citizens’ Initiatives that Republicans do. DIsgraceful.

    • If marijuana is regulated so much, they may as well ban liquor; prohibition and restriction of marijuana aren’t very different. If anything, marijuana is safer.

      And the Democrats backed I-502… now they are going against their own beliefs. This is typical Democratic party politics.

    • Try Riley and he may respond to you Daved

      • Correction: David not Daved ( been listening to David too long).

    • It was funnier the other way, Woyne!

      • What way Daved?

  2. Nice you are back.

    Seems like the House plan will be better for our roads and such- and this is without considering (and maybe this has changed?) the Senate wanting to push the sales tax on these transport projects back into the transport budget- so the county and the cities would be shorted on sales tax they would normally receive.

  3. I have had a disc problem for 32 years now and the best treatment I got was rolfing. If you are interested, I can give you the name of my rolfer in Seattle. Of course if you have it well in hand, never mind.

    • it must have resulted from all those years from stooping in the fields while Steinbeck watched [sarc].

  4. The medicinal marijuana legislation pretty much guarantees that medicinal users will be driven underground or to black market sources for their needs. So much for cutting the drug cartels out of the market via legalization.

    PS – Welcome back.

    • Right – not only does it force them to deal with criminals, it makes them criminals! If you’ve ever wondered how the USA incarcerates orders of magnitude more people than any other nation (even communist China!) – thank the Washington State Democrats for an object lesson.

  5. “In Olympia, the clock is ticking down to the end of session…” Doubt it. The session’s end will be delayed, and the session could be much longer.

  6. RE: marijuana, the Campus Community Coalition is hosting two events on the topic, one entitled Can Legal Be Safe? and another entitled Communities and Marijuana. See:

    • Thanks, Dick. “Can Legal Be Safe?”, eh? A whole lot safer than alcohol or tobacco. Safer than aspirin, actually – which is toxic in doses found in most peoples’ homes. There is no toxic dose for cannabis – other than, perhaps, a 200 lb bale dropped from 20 feet up. That the groups who benefit from prohibition (law enforcement, the judicially-mandated “treatment” industry) are a majority on these panels is a red flag.

      • It was an interesting and informative evening at the CCC forum on marijuana last night. The presentation by Dr. Jason Kilmer of UW gave a lot of technical info on the effects of marijuana vs alcohol. Useful stuff. His presentation slides will be made available through the CCC shortly. For those who might not have read Tim Johnson’s column on the topic yesterday, you can go here.

        Especially interesting in Tim’s column was the following: “Yet despite all the caution and control, the world did not end with the over-the counter sale of dope.

        “Two years after legalizing marijuana my home state of Washington is thriving,” Barcott relates. “Colorado is booming.
        “Neither Colorado nor Washington have reported an increase in stoned workers, stoned managers, stoned drivers, stoned mothers, stoned fathers, stoned baristas, stoned I.T. guys, stoned H.R. managers, stoned CEOs, stoned CFOs, stoned grocery clerks, stoned ferry captains, stoned ferry passengers, stoned doctors, stoned lawyers, stoned cable guys, stoned electricians, stoned farmers and stoned stoners.”

        Crime fell, Barcott reports.

        “In 2013 and the early months of 2014, King County experienced its lowest overall crime rate since the 1960s. By mid-2014, drunk and drugged driving arrests in both Washington and Colorado were at all-time lows.” Illegal pot growers, he noted, moved their operations elsewhere and state and federal agents, who had raided farms and destroyed more than half a million plants in 2009 found and eradicated just 39,000 plants four years later.

        “Cities and counties saved tens of millions of dollars by not chasing marijuana users,” Barcott reports. “In Washington State 6,879 people were arrested on low-level marijuana charges in 2011. In 2013, that number was 120—a drop of 98 percent. More importantly, nearly 7,000 people enjoyed lives undisrupted by the trauma of arrest and jail time.”

  7. Riley – Since the state treasurer has now come out for a state income tax of 5% (a minimal amount!) and since this is an item near and dear to me, I for one would be interested in you tracking this in the state legislature. Unfortunately, it will probably die a quick death since the Dems have no cojones and the Repubs are against fairness.

    • They (the R’s) may prefer this to the capital gains tax, and the C tax- especially if they can also crow about reducing B&O, sales tax, and tuition. But, I am sure the R’s and others will pop up to say I am totally wrong, no way! Personally, a three tier income tax (2%, 4%, 8%) would be better.

      • You are a TOTALLY WRONG Socialist!

      • Hmm… Thanks, I will put Totally Wrong socialist in my label collection, right next to Rent-seeking Gangster.

        Thinking about this, I would instead suggest that Charles and David Koch are better nominees for the title of Totally Wrong Socialists.

  8. Whaaaaaaat?

    • Wayne – It is well known that rightwing whackos are really just socialists in disguise. In other words, since the rich get so many freebies and diversify their business costs onto the public and let the individual poor pay the price, the soundbite is: “Socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor.” What the rightwing whackos do is sign off on this nonsense because, as John Steinbeck said, “they are just temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

      • Thanks, that is essentially my point. Their work promotes socialism of the corporate persons, making sure resources and power are freely controlled by the society of corporations. As we read that the legislature will go into a special session, this may be an interesting example:

        Which organization employs more citizens of this state, and which organization’s product and mission enables the production of more jobs- Boeing, or the state K-12 school system? Which of these two organizations has the highest vested interest in the overall prosperity of our state and its citizens? It is then interesting that Boeing was able to command our state government to hold a special session, where quick action was taken to provide $billions in state resources to benefit that corporate person, but the same set of government office holders will not get together a similar effort for our education system. This is totally wrong socialism.

      • So, Bernie, you admit to being a Socialist but NOT a corporatist Socialist?

        The “state government” could have ignored Boeing. Washington should welcome Boeing’s continued presence. Don’t forget that Boeing’s highly paid employees (our fellow citizens) pay a lot of taxes to support our public school system.

        If I were Boeing’s CEO I would look for a Right To Work state(s) to move ALL operations to. If the State legislature wanted to do something constructive they would vote to make Washington a Right To Work state. The thieving unions are the cause of most of our problems.

      • It will be a great day when the schools get all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale so they can buy another bomber from Boeing.

      • So you are for Sharia law in the U. S?

      • Let’s see, are you saying:

        1. All rich are “Rightwing Wackos”.

        2. All “Rightwing Wackos” are rich.

        3. All “Rightwing Wackos” are Socialists in disguise.

        Walter, you should change your moniker from DARWIN to the GREAT HOUDINI.

  9. Uh, let’s parse your pusillanimous pugnacity Wayne.

    A. All rich are “Rightwing Wackos”. OR “rich” > “Rightwing Wackos”
    B. All “Rightwing Wackos” are rich. OR “Rightwing Wackos” > “rich”
    [Bronx cheer from background] – logical contradiction

    C. All “Rightwing Wackos” are Socialists in disguise. OR “Rightwing Wackos” > Socialists
    D. I am waiting for proposition D.
    E. I am also waiting for a conclusion.

    Do I really have to introduce Venn diagrams Wayne?

    • The conclusion is yours Walter.

      • Wayne – If you are going to try and spin what I say into totally-at-odds nonsense that is 180 degrees from the original statement, you OWN the assumptions, premises and conclusions. As I said, given your nonsensical statements, you need to provide a conclusion. Here, chew on this for awhile (hopefully the image will load). This will give you an idea of how ridiculous you are.


        New preamble to the constitution

        ‘We the sensible people of the United States, in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice, avoid more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior, and secure the blessings of debt-free liberty to ourselves and our great-great-great-grandchildren, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, guilt ridden, delusional. We hold these truths to be self evident: that a whole lot of people are confused by the Bill of Rights and are so dim they require a Bill of NON-Rights.’

        ARTICLE I:
        You do not have the right to a new car, big screen TV, or any other form of wealth.. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no one is guaranteeing anything.

        ARTICLE II:
        You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone — not just you! You may leave the room, turn the channel, express a different opinion, etc.; but the world is full of dummies, and probably always will be.

        ARTICLE III:
        You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful; do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.

        ARTICLE IV:
        You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of professional couch potatoes who achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch potatoes.

        ARTICLE V:
        You do not have the right to free health care. That would be nice, but from the looks of public housing, we’re just not interested in public health care.

        ARTICLE VI:
        You do not have the right to physically harm other people. If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim, or kill someone, don’t be surprised if the rest of us want to see you get the blue juice.

        ARTICLE VII:
        You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat, or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don’t be surprised if the rest of us get together and lock you away in a place where you still won’t have the right to a big screen color TV or a life of leisure..

        You do not have the right to a job. All of us sure want you to have a job, and will gladly help you along in hard times, but we expect you to take advantage of the opportunities of education and vocational training laid before you to make yourself useful.

        ARTICLE IX:
        You do not have the right to happiness. Being an American means that you have the right to PURSUE happiness, which by the way, is a lot easier if you are unencumbered by an over abundance of idiotic laws created by those of you who were confused by the Bill of Rights.

        ARTICLE X:
        This is an English speaking country. We don’t care where you came from, English is our language. Learn it!


        ARTICLE XI:
        You do not have the right to change our country’s history or heritage. This country was founded on the belief in one true God. And yet, you are given the freedom to believe in any religion, any faith, or no faith at all; with no fear of persecution. The phrase IN GOD WE TRUST is part of our heritage and history, sorry if you are uncomfortable with it.

    • Who writes your material Walter?

  10. Riley – Breaking news in Ferndale. Sam Taylor has resigned his position as city clerk/propaganda minister to take a job in California.

  11. Sorry Wayne – You win the Ridiculosity Sweepstakes. My efforts are pitiful compared to yours. Your prize is waiting for you at the Silver Reef Casino. All you have to do to claim it is pull up to valet parking WITHOUT a Canadian license plate.

    • Ad Hominem. Now you are attacking our Canadian neighbors, next it will be the Lummi Nation.

      How low can you go, only the Shadow knows.

    • I think we should thank Wayne for contributing to our understanding of the ideas that guide the reactionary right. It’s so negative, so lacking in optimism, so hateful and blaming of others, and so deliberately ignorant. Really – why do these guys hate freedom, why do they hate America so much to do nothing but drag other people down to make themselves feel better?

      Wayne – don’t you have any optimism about the future at all? Don’t you have anything nice to say, something positive to contribute?

      • I think we should thank David for contributing to our understanding of the ideas that guide the reactionary left. It’s so negative, so lacking in optimism, so hateful and blaming of others, and so deliberately ignorant. Really – why do these guys hate freedom, why do they hate America so much to do nothing but drag other people down to make themselves feel better?

        David – don’t you have any optimism about the future at all? Don’t you have anything nice to say, something positive to contribute?

      • @Wayne – actually, I’m pretty optimistic – although I get pretty angry sometimes when I see things going the wrong way by my lights. But I try to be respectful, and I certainly don;t presume to tell people what they can;t do – which your screed does in spades. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Ya man.

      • I don’t tell anybody what to do and not do and likewise I don’t want anyone to tell me what to or not do. I am a Reaganite Libertarian.

      • @Wayne – Reaganite Republican” Bully for you – I’m a citizen. I don;t need to label myself with the name of an actor hired to lay President on teevee.

      • “I don’t tell anyone what to do and what not to do…” What is your stance on marijuana? Gay rights?

        “…Reaganite Libertarian.” Reagan certainly told people “what to do and what not to do.”

      • No opinion on either. Live and let live.

        “you appear to want to tell people what religion to believe (and to be told what to believe).

        Where did you get that from? Not the “new” Bill of Rights

        “and you want people to speak your language (English)”.

        When a person is granted U. S. citizenship there are requirements and one of them is to learn English, another is to learn US history and assimilate. Otherwise you would have Balkanization.

        I guess civics is no longer taught in school.

      • Also, in your new “Bill of Rights”, you appear to want to tell people what religion to believe (and to be told what to believe), and you want people to speak your language (English).

  12. US Citizenship Eligibility Requirements

    To be able to apply for citizenship through naturalization, you have to meet the following requirements. You should:
    •Be 18 years of age or above.
    •A lawful permanent resident for 5 years (3 years if married to a US citizen).
    •Have maintained continuous residence during the past 5 years (3 years if married to a US citizen).
    •Have maintained physical presence during the past 5 years (3 years if married to a US citizen).
    •Have good moral character.
    •Have basic knowledge of English.
    •Have basic knowledge of US government and history.
    •Be willing to take the Oath of Allegiance.

    • “I guess citizenship is no longer taught in school.” -Huh? Irrelevant.

      • Is it? If NOT explain why PLEASE.

      • BTW-I said: “I guess civics (NOT citizenship) is no longer taught in school”.

      • Common knowledge: Civics are taught in school!! (They were in your school, weren’t they??)

        Even if they weren’t, you would expect me to be able to explain why?

  13. I guess this weekend is next weekend, but as the legislature has not done too much, the week after next should work too

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