The original review was based on shoddy research by cannabis consulting contractor BOTEC Analysis, run by California professor Mark Kleiman. In July, I exposed several errors in their research, which in numerous places concluded the exact opposite of its source material—resulting in undue criticism of indoor pot growing, an industry well deserving of accurate scrutiny.
BOTEC provided an updated report earlier this month—one of the last items it owed the state. In total, the company earned over $800,000 on the consulting contract, eight times the amount originally budgeted by the liquor board.
The new filing addresses several errors I asked about, including a statement that light bulbs used for indoor pot production can not be recycled—a claim sourced from a group lobbying for outdoor marijuana production. "HID light bulbs and all mercury containing bulbs are now required to be recycled under RCW 70.275.080."
Liquor board spokesman Brian Smith says the refiled review is evidence that the agency is trying to properly proceed with the I-502 implementation process. "You'd asked early on about the lights. We followed up on that. We tried to get to the bottom of that and they changed what they had in there."
I also mentioned the little Pacific fisher, which now gets proper mention in the review for being killed en masse by rodentcides used by outdoor pot growers in California.
Smith says the refiling has little to do with an administrative lawsuit by Arthur West, a public records activist who led the No on 502 campaign with dispensary owner Steve Sarich, who claims the suit has stopped the I-502 implementation process "dead in its tracks."
"We feel like we're right on track. He disagrees with us and he's free to do that," says Smith. Asked how many lawsuits or administrative complaints West has pending against the agency, Smith referred me to the Attorney General's office, saying "he is well known in Thurston County for having multiple lawsuits against public agencies."
Will this affect the December 1 deadline to implement legal pot rules? "It's not gonna affect our timeline," Smith assures me. So when will we have legal pot shops? "I'm anticipating probably around June," Smith says.