Welcome to the West Report blog

     An open letter to my legislators in the 3rd district of Washington state concerning bills being submitted for this 2018 session.

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     Howdy Sen. Billig, Reps. Riccelli, Ormsby and all Staff,

     My feedback on the latest news of bills. These are Senate bills but if passed then they will hit the House also and I would ask you vote no on all of them.

     SB 5463 – Locking up firearms. All democrat sponsors including Senator Billig.

– In your district, in front of my home a 15 year old kid was beaten to death in the street while I was at work. No gun was used.
– My home has been broken into 3 times and my guns were taken once. They took the guns and my whole safe. Pretty much my entire apartment was moved to an empty one while I was at work. Very lucky the police recovered most of the big stuff that couldn’t go into a backpack. Locking my guns up did nothing to keep “Prohibited Persons” from taking them.
– My neighbor downstairs has had a car stolen three times. Mine has only been broken into.
– It wasn’t very long ago that about 1 in 4 houses/apartments in a three block radius were boarded up criminal or drug houses. The second over house behind mine was torn down to a bare lot after years as a nuisance house.
– I’ve had to pull a gun twice. I am thankful that was enough to defuse and disperse. I did not end up dead in the street in your district.
– The criminal you discover in your home already has a gun. During the next 3 seconds who do you think is going to be shot? Criminals do not schedule their crimes with you ahead of time so you can fetch your keys and find the piece of paper you wrote the safe combo on.

     My guns are already locked up. I have a deadbolt on my front door. There is nowhere in your home “Prohibited Persons” cannot get to. This bill only harms lawful gun owners. Your party either wants to make me a lawful death statistic or a living felon. The shotgun is staying under the couch. Please stop trying to get me killed.

     SB 5444 – Registration of rifles and magazines and an annual license to own both. All democrat sponsors.

     Your party is preparing to take my firearms or make the cost of keeping them a privilege only enjoyed by the wealthy. According to your very own statistics ( FBI ) 95% of all gun deaths nation wide are from handguns. There are 22 deaths from handguns for every 1 death from a rifle. I do not own any handguns. I use the same rifles and shotguns to hunt, shoot and defend myself.

     The only possible reason to require this law only for rifles is for the seizure of our firearms. Criminals will not register their guns since it is already illegal for them to own them. Criminals will have guns and I will not. Please stop trying to get me killed.

     SB 6146 – Allowing local government to regulate firearms. All democrat sponsors.

     The only reason to do this is to pass this bill and allow local governments to pass despotic gun laws to use as a precedent for state wide regulation. Just like your party tried to do recently with the Seattle income tax. My rifle saved my life. I’m rather attached to both. Please stop trying to take my firearms.

     SB 5992 – Ban on trigger modification devices. All democrat including Senator Billig along with 1 republican.

     If your party wants to ban bump stocks then call it bump stocks. Who cares? They are toys that do nothing practical. But this bill goes way past that. This bill makes my muzzle break and hunting trigger (hair pull) illegal.

     The bill says clearly, ” … any part … intended for use in modifying a firearm to use the recoil of the firearm to produce a rapid succession of trigger functions.” My muzzle break is a part that does just that. Do you really not understand the difference between a 2nd shot and spending three hours tracking a deer down through the snow? My muzzle break is not a toy, is not unpractical and serves a reasonable, lawful and damn useful purpose.

     The bill says clearly, “All trigger modification devices are declared contraband.” I change the barrel on my AR15 which normally fires a .223 round to fit the .300 along with my trigger system for deer and elk. Buying a trigger with a lighter more accurate pull will now make me a felon. Please stop trying to imprison me.

     SB 6049 – Redefining the term Large Capacity Magazine. All democrat sponsors.

     My 30 round magazines are standard. Have been for the last 60 years. Came in the box with the rifle directly from the manufacturer.

     A large capacity magazine would be a drum mag or ultra clip that hold 40-100 rounds. There is no reason given why this is even needed in the bill language or the summary. All this bill does is redefine the term “Large Capacity Magazine” as being a clip that holds 11+ rounds.

     Very odd that not only does it define my .223 magazine as an “LCM” but at the same time my hunting .300 magazine defines me a criminal guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

     In summary, your party wants me disarmed, robbed, killed and after imprisoning the pile of what’s left for felony crimes impose a gross misdemeanor fine on my estate.

     What the hell?

     Thank you very much for your time,

     Shawn West
     Spokane, WA

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The West Report

The opinions expressed in The West Report are the author’s own. Feel free to repost or share, we just ask you credit or link to this article as a source.

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A paternity fraud bill before the Washington legislature, SB 5006 and its companion HB 1524, that would allow wrongly named men to disestablish paternity has been moving this year but its not too late to have your voice heard.

Senate Bill 5006 was delayed earlier this month while an amendment to address the concerns of Washington State DHSH was hammered out. The amended bill has since been adopted and passed through the Senate Law & Justice committee where it is now being looked at by the Senate Ways & Means committee. I’ve learned that a report is being prepared for the committee on the amended bill but as of this article there is no hearing date set. In order for the bill to keep moving through the legislature the committee needs to schedule a hearing by the end of next week. And this is where you can help.

Comment on SB 5006

Say you support this bill and are asking that the Senate Ways and Means schedule a hearing before Friday, Feb. 27th. Your message will be sent to every legislator.

Currently 14 states have such anti-paternity fraud laws or Supreme Court rulings in place, Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri and Texas. Once passed SB 5006 would make Washington State number 15 on that list.

Of note, an additional 4 states allow a selective ability to appeal, Colorado, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. Colorado for example a wrongly named father can only appeal during a divorce or child support action. 2 states, New Hampshire plus California, have established commissions looking into the problem of paternity fraud.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services approximately 46 States, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands make provisions allowing putative fathers to contest a notice claiming paternity. Of these States, approximately 13 allow revocation at any time. The link report is a year old, compiled during 2013 and that number is now up to 15 states.

Here in Washington we currently only have 60 days or less to contest a claim of paternity.

Once named, a non-parent has no right of appeal to that finding even in cases of duress, fraud and mistake of fact. This bill would no longer allow the state to deny an appeal of paternity once DNA testing has shown the wrong person has been named. Help pass SB 5006 / HB 1524.

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The West Report

The opinions expressed in The West Report are the author’s own. Feel free to repost or share, we just ask you credit or link to this article as a source.

Open Letter on SB 5997

February 14, 2014

I would ask the Senate Rules Committee, Senate Committee on Law & Justice and entire Washington State Legislature to please support Senate Bill 5997.

Senate Bill 5997 would allow the disestablishment of paternity when genetic testing shows by clear and convincing evidence that the wrong man has been named as the birth father of a child. A petition must be filed within two (2) years after knowledge of facts indicating the man is not the child’s birth father.

Currently under the Revised Codes of Washington State (RCW) when the wrong man is named as a child’s birth father there is no remedy to correct that error. SB 5997, when passed, would allow the court to correct that error by naming the correct man as a child’s birth father.

When a finding of paternity is made in error the consequences are many. A few of the obvious;

The child’s birth father has his child taken from him by our State Courts without a finding of parental unfitness.
The erroneous finding of paternity results in an adoption having taken place without notice or consent of the child’s actual father.
Both the child and birth father are denied forming a parental relationship.
The child is denied a right of identity, heritage, a familial bond and family medical history.

Before passing to the Rules Committee for a 2nd reading, a hearing for SB 5997 was held by the Committee on Law & Justice on January 20th. Several concerns were voiced in opposition and I would like to reply to those in support for this Bill.

– “A person can already challenge paternity during the first four (4) years.”

Currently, RCW 26.26.535 and 2011 c 283 s 33, our courts can deny a petition to challenge paternity even when filed during the first four (4) years. SB 5997 would no longer allow that denial so that the correct man can be named as the child’s birth father.

In cases of fraud, not allowing a birth father to establish paternity simply because it was a really good lie is wrong.

A basic civil right to self, identity and a parental relationship with your birth father are basic human rights that I think we should all enjoy. Under our current RCW, we don’t.

– “This bill does not increase the ability of our courts to enforce a support order.”

What more could we possibly add? Wage garnishments, IRS seizure, state liens, loan denial, license suspension, arrest, imprisonment, up to and including support orders against any random name from the phone book.

Nothing under SB 5997 hinders the state in placing and enforcing support orders, reimbursements or estate recovery. It simply gives our courts another tool to place them against the correct person when an error has been shown. There are no additional powers granted to the State under SB 5997 because there doesn’t need to be.

– “This bill could be devastating to the child if left without child support.”

In this, the ends do not justify the means. Taking a child from its birth father without notice, consent or a finding of unfitness simply to enforce a support order is wrong.

Allowing no appeal to a court order based on what may be perjured testimony simply because four (4) years has passed is also wrong. Especially when our courts can deny such an appeal even when filed within that time.

We also can’t retroactively apply a disestablishment of paternity to a support order. Meaning, that the child has already received that support and it must still be paid. Aid, benefits and support would then accrue until applied to the correctly named man would it not? As I read it, nothing under Senate Bill 5997 changes that.

– “Parentage does not require a person to be the biological father.”

There is no reason why you cannot develop a healthy, loving relationship with a non-biological father figure in your own life and SB 5997 does not prevent that in any way.

Nor does this Bill require that the Father only be a biological one and does not affect putative fathers who accept paternity irregardless.

– “This bill gives an unlimited amount of time to contest paternity.”

 Only in cases where fraud is suspect would a man have reason to petition paternity. And even then he must do so within two (2) years after knowledge of facts indicating the man is not the child’s birth father.

– If you can have a common law wife then you can have a common law child, not knowing that the child isn’t really yours.

The days when if you shook hands with a woman on the third Thursday of an odd number month you are then considered married are over. We got rid of that years ago for just reason. Turns out that a relationship with your birth father is a good thing.

And the idea that any boyfriend who happens to be around at the time is just as good I find to be rather insulting.

Senate Bill 5997 would not prevent a false establishment of paternity. Now, however, once passed there would be a legal remedy when an error can be shown. Currently under Washington State RCW there is none.

Ethics, morals, family values, parental relationship, fairness and equity before the law. All good reasons to support Senate Bill 5997 and I am asking my Legislature to do just that.

Thank you for reading.

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The legislative session this year is a short 60 days and is almost over. Citizens and readers can help pass SB 5997 by voicing your support on the Washington State website. Your message will be sent to every state legislator.

Comment on SB 5997

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The West Report
 
The opinions expressed in The West Report are the author’s own. Feel free to repost or share, we just ask you credit or link to this article as a source.

I’ve written before about paternity fraud being legal in Washington State and how nothing is being done about it. Now however, with SB 5997, something just might be.

Senate Bill 5997 would allow a wrongly named man to petition in court to rescind an acknowledgment of paternity, challenge a presumption of paternity, or contest an adjudication of paternity if genetic testing shows by clear and convincing evidence that the man is not the genetic father of the child. The petition must be filed within two years (2) after knowledge of facts indicating the man is not the child’s genetic father.

Important point there. Two years after indication.

Under the current Revised Codes of Washington (RCW) if a court ruling based on perjured testimony can be stretched out for four (4) years then there is nothing that can be done about it. Throw up all the DNA tests you want. Will get you nowhere.

That’s why it is called paternity fraud folks.

Also under the current Washington State RCW the courts retain the right to ignore or refuse to allow a DNA test if it still wants to extort money from the wrongly named man. So even if you try to contest a finding of paternity within the four (4) years allowed the court can still say no.

Neat huh?

Both detractors and members of the Senate Committee on Law & Justice repeated multiple times that current law gives you four (4) years to contest paternity as if that meant you could. That there is nothing under our State law that says you’ll actually be allowed to is a glaring omission.

Now SB 5997 won’t stop paternity fraud from happening. The Superior Courts of Washington can still slap support orders on any random name from the phone book it wants to. But at least now the courts would have the ability to name the correct person as a child’s father once an error has been shown. And since it would no longer be able to refuse a DNA test for the first four (4) years it would be in the best interest of the child and the courts in naming the correct father to begin with.

And the state isn’t going to lose money.

When SB 5997 is passed the wrongly named man would still have to pay what was owed at the time. Benefits would then add up and be passed on to the correctly named father. Talk about insult to injury. Lied to, cheated on, ripped off, family lost, finally get out from a court order, and then have your license suspended, police arrested and then thrown in jail for being too poor to pay for a child already court ordered not to be yours.

But at least this is a step in the right direction for Washington State.

The State report from the January 20th hearing before the Senate Committee on Law & Justice can be read here:

SB 5997 Report

So, lets review shall we? Taken from said report;

“Staff Summary of Public Testimony: PRO: This is a matter of fairness and equity. In many cases there is no legal recourse for a man when he discovers through DNA testing that he is not the biological father but is paying child support. The discovery may happen long after the limitations allowed by law. Paying child support for someone else’s child is very burdensome and affects the ability to support your own biological children. Failure to pay a legal obligation such as child support may result in a driver license suspension or arrest.”

Huh. Now all good points yes, but I was at that meeting and spoke in favor of SB 5997. My testimony, as disclosure for this article, is included at the bottom of this blog posting and my words were, “… you will be arrested, labeled a dead-beat Dad, and then thrown in prison.” Did we stop throwing people in prison for not paying support? Apparently the staff that summarized the report think we have.

I also said, “When the wrong man is named by our courts the first result is that the child’s actual father has his child taken from him by the State, without a finding of unfitness. This is very wrong.” Not to mention supposedly illegal and down right unconstitutional. Washington’s current RCW allow a legal loophole around around the requirement of a finding of unfitness but that doesn’t seem to be a problem.

Obviously I feel that the State of Washington can just take your child from you for no reason is unethical, immoral and a serious crime against parent and child alike.

All and all however, the Pro Summary sizes the issue up well enough, Fairness and Equity before the Law.

It takes a big man to step up to the plate and boldly declare that to Olympia. Fairness and Equity before the Law. I would like to thank Senator Jan Angel when she stepped up and did just that by sponsoring this bill. My blog is out of Washington’s 3rd District in Spokane, but however Senate Bill 5997 turns out, the 26th District is lucky to have a Senator with strong ethics that supports Washington State family values with more than just words.

And now, for the detractors, also taken from said report;

“Staff Summary of Public Testimony: CON: This bill could be devastating to the child if left without child support. A person already has up to four years to challenge paternity. This period is longer than most states. We should keep a child-centered approach. Parentage does not require a person to be the biological father.”

Oh hell, where to begin. Lets just go in order here shall we?

1) This bill could be devastating to the child if left without child support.
* Nothing under SB 5997 hinders the State in collecting support from the child’s birth father.
* 5 other states have bills like this. Where are all the case studies of children left without support?
 
2) A person already has up to four years to challenge paternity.
* The Superior Courts of Washington are allowed to refuse a challenge during those four (4) years at will for any reason.
* SB 5997 would no longer allow that refusal so the correct man is named as the child’s father within those four (4) years.
 
3) This period is longer than most states.
* 5 other states have anti-paternity fraud laws also. Washington should become the sixth by passing Senate Bill 5997 and take that first step in ending legalized paternity fraud in Washington State.
 
4) We should keep a child-centered approach.
* Then lets give Washington State children a basic civil right to have a parental relationship with their birth fathers.
* Then lets no longer take a child from a loving parent without notice, consent or a finding of unfitness.
 
5) Parentage does not require a person to be the biological father.
* There is no reason why you cannot develop a healthy, loving relationship with a father figure in your own life and SB 5997 does not prevent that in any way. Nor does it require that a Father only be a biological one.
* A basic civil right to self, identity and a parental relationship with your birth father are basic human rights that I think we should all enjoy. Currently under Washington State law, we don’t. SB 5997 is a step forward in that direction that we should all be supporting.
* Father, Step-Father and Mom’s Boyfriend are three different things under Washington State law and family values. Men here are not interchangeable and disposable accessory items for a woman’s family unit. Please stop treating us that way.

Yes, I know what you’re probably thinking about now. “Dude, you shouldn’t hold back like that. Tell us how you really feel.” In my next blog post about SB 5997 I will do just that.

Comments made by Sen. Roach of the Senate Committee on Law & Justice during the bill hearing on Jan. 20th were particularly disturbing. And how exactly she can stress the importance of the child / father relationship on one hand while supporting the denial of that relationship on the other is a mystery I am still trying to untangle.

Sen. Pedersen seems to think the bill gives an unlimited amount of time to contest paternity even though it specifically says, “The petition must be filed within two years (2) after knowledge of facts indicating the man is not the child’s genetic father.” And when the state already has what amounts to unlimited power to enforce support orders, including against any chump who happens to be around at the time, he seems to think that isn’t enough.

Are you frigging kidding me?

So yeah. I’m sure that’ll get a few paragraphs. But it won’t all be rant and rave. Only mostly. I’ll also talk about other victims of paternity fraud in Washington and the hard work they have done to help make this Bill a reality. My ability to participate and support this bill is entirely due to them. And I cannot thank Sen. Jan Angel enough for sponsoring this Bill.

The legislative session this year is a short 60 days and is half way over. Please help pass SB 5997 by voicing your support on the Washington State website. Your message will be sent to every state legislator.

Comment on SB 5997

The members of Washington’s Senate Committee on Law & Justice are; Senators Mike Padden (R) Chair, Steve O’Ban (R) Vice Chair, Adam Kline (D), Jeannie Darneille (D), Kirk Pearson (R), Jamie Pederson (D), and Pam Roach (R).

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That will officially end this blog posting. My testimony before the Senate Committee on Law & Justice in Olympia Washington, Jan. 20th is below.

Thank you for reading.

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“The ends do not justify the means” (title not read)

I support Senate Bill 5997 and applaud the Sponsor, drafters and fellow supporters that have allowed it to be heard here today.

In October of 1998 I was served with notice from the court in Washington that I had been named as a putative father and submitted to the ordered DNA test the very next day. At that time our laws said we had 90 days to contest a paternity suit.

It took 87 days for me to get the test results that showed I was not a father in January of 1999. And even though the court in Spokane County had my test result it was still preparing to press a support order against me for a child it knew wasn’t mine. Simply because the mother wouldn’t tell the state where the actual father was. And even after I did.

Later in that year of 1999 the law was changed from 90 days to contest a paternity suit to only 20 days.

20 days.

If what had happened to me had only been a little bit later, I would of been 2 months into a default support order before I even received the test result to contest it with in the first place. And at that point nothing could be done about it no matter how many DNA tests I could show.

Washington State citizens now have 60 days to contest a paternity suit, or, until a scheduled court date. Which depending on circumstance, could mean as little as 1 day.

This in a state where it took almost 3 months for me to get a genetic test result from.

When the wrong man is named by our courts the first result is that the child’s actual father has his child taken from him by the state without a finding of unfitness. This is very wrong. Especially when it happens in the face of DNA testing that shows the error.

At the same time, the child is denied a relationship with it’s actual father or even knowing who he is. This is not in line with the family values I was raised with here in Washington State.

Today, 15 years after my experience, I would like to say that things are better but I cannot. If you refuse to pay a support order for a child that isn’t even yours you will be arrested, labeled a dead-beat Dad, and then thrown in prison.

Whether through mistake, omission or outright deception, when the incorrect person is determined to be the father of a child there is still no legal remedy.

Senate Bill 5997 provides that remedy by allowing the wrongly named father to terminate such an order and allows the court to then name the correct person as the father of a child. To date, there are five other states that allow such suits to go forward, and I am here today, to voice my support for Washington becoming the sixth.

Thank you

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The West Report

The opinions expressed in The West Report are the author’s own. Feel free to repost or share, we just ask you credit or link to this article as a source.

NSA & Snowden

June 26, 2013

Welcome to the West Report blog

The National Security Agency (NSA) is home to America’s code-makers and code-breakers. It is their job to gather signals intelligence (SIGINT) in order to gain a decision making advantage for the U.S. and our allies under all circumstances.

So what’s all the controversy about? From media reports, the National Security Agency has;

     “…collected millions of phone records from accounts in the United States along with signals intelligence from U.S. companies on the internet activity of overseas residents.”

And? The NSA gets to listen in, I don’t have a problem with that. Requesting and collecting intelligence is what the Agency is supposed to do. It isn’t hacking into these companies then data strip mining them.

Not that I know of anyway.

If they are just being nice by asking after the fact then hey, great job, keep up the good work. Either way the NSA is not gathering all this intelligence then posting up fun facts about random people on their twitter feed.

And a federal agency tracking my internet activity doesn’t really concern me either. I’ve been cleaning cookies out of my PC that do the exact same thing since windows 95. Nothing new there and it is kind of nice to know who’s collecting them for a change. I’ll type a thank you NSA email this evening and send it to myself.

I’m sure they’ll get it.

I’m much more concerned with banks and public corporations that keep getting hacked while losing personal information to criminals affecting millions of people at a time. The NSA has credibility in excess. Google can’t even operate my youtube channel correctly. Between the two I know who I’m more comfortable with compiling meta-data on my internet usage and personal information.

On the whole I don’t see anything wrong with the NSA or its actions. What I do see as being wrong is calling Snowden a whistle blower.

The guy didn’t send evidence to his Congressman then hide in the hills waiting on word from his lawyer. He infiltrated our government with the intention of stealing secrets and making them public.

That is espionage.

Last reports put the guy in Russia while he seeks somewhere that will grant him asylum. Presumably to then await book deals and highest bids on movie rights.

I wonder if we have anyone the Israelis might want in trade. You know, just in case he happens to show up in their custody sometime.

Doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

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The West Report
The opinions expressed in The West Report are the author’s own. Feel free to repost or share, we just ask you credit or link to this article as a source.

I-502: Show me the money

April 12, 2013

If you were working a $30,000 a year job would you quit in exchange for a $15,000 a year job? The answer to that for most of us would be no, yet Washington State’s I-502 assumes black-market cannabis producers will do just exactly that.

Abbreviations, conversions and the math I used to reach the following figures have been included at the end of this article.

I-502 is the Washington State initiative from 2012 that legalized cannabis for recreational use, retail sale and of course to be taxed by the state. In a prior article I brought up the DUI aspect of I-502 and the 5 nanogram intoxication level. In this article I will take a look at tax revenues and shutting down black-market producers, both subjects having been presented to voters as reason for casting a ballot favoring this measure rather than opposed.

The rate of cannabis consumption needs to be looked at first when talking about taxes and production. Even though it has no real comparison with tobacco, news reports and this initiative have used it, so, for this article I shall also. To compare the two lets look at a single pound of cannabis.

1 pound of cannabis = 16 ounces = 128 eighths = 448 grams = 896 half gram joints, smoked once a day, every day, day after day, week after week, every month, month after month, without pause, ever, takes about 2.5 years to consume.

A non-filtered 100 mm length tobacco cigarette on average weights .68 grams. Your typical pack-a-day smoker during the same time period will consume about 27.2 pounds worth of cigarettes.

1 .oz, or 56 joints, is the legal possession limit and represents one purchase every two months for someone who consumes a joint every single day. As a social weekend activity, say two joints each weekend, that 1 .oz purchase is made once every seven months. For a casual user of 3-6 times a month, call it an annual purchase.

The common tobacco model should raise some obvious red flags when used to project tax revenue. Even a cursory glance shows that it will be either high or absurdly delusional. Using the above cannabis consumption rates, a realistic “cash windfall” tax projection for my city, per average user is $4.44 annually.

Our city’s council members could pan-handle more than that during lunch breaks downtown.

The only meaningful tax projection I can see stemming from I-502 is not in earnings but savings from all the arrests, bookings, court dates and imprisonments that will no longer take place. I think that would make a more coherent and factual argument when using cash as a reason to support this initiative.

Going back over the last 50 years of prohibition and taking out every budget increase that used “marijuana” to justify itself is huge, and no longer needed. Showing how all our property taxes are going to go down with reduced law enforcement budgets would get more public support I’m sure.

However, even if I-502 turns out to be, at best, revenue neutral, we will still be putting the black-market producers out of business right? That is the other main reason being pitched to support I-502.

For starters, unlike tobacco that can be bought anywhere, anytime, retail cannabis outlets are going to be few, far between and heavily regulated. That might not be much of a factor for someone living in the Seattle area that has a local transit system, but for the rest of the state it is worth including into the equation.

Not many people are going to drive 3 hours round-trip into town and back to pick up only the 1 ounce possession limit. People living in rural Washington can’t even do a Costco type run where they pool together money and a shopping list for whomever is going. Each person must go themselves or carpool. So obviously, anyone who can’t, does not own a car or simply won’t spend $400 per ounce, all things considered, is going to buy from the current black-market.

Tax projections supporting I-502 assume 100% of cannabis consumed in Washington State will be purchased from legal retail stores. This, in a state where 40% of all tobacco cigarettes and 100% of all recreational cannabis consumed is ALREADY being purchased from the black-market.

So, three hours on the road, gas money, snow and all the rest to buy your legal ounce? Or, call up the gal you’re getting it from already, have it delivered to your door and then go halves on a pizza once she gets there.

Real tough choice.

Since the passage of I-502, the suggested starting retail price of $12 per gram has been reported numerous times and works out to $42.00 per eighth. At first glance this seems comparable to the black-market price of $11.42 per gram or $40.00 per eighth. And most users I feel when given the choice are going to purchase from a retail store if it’s only a few dollars difference.

The math after that starts to break down though. Currently in Washington State an ounce of cannabis on the black-market is $240. Unlike the black-market, legal retail stores don’t give bulk purchase discounts and will cost $336 per ounce, or $362.88 after 8% sales tax. What consumer is going to willingly pay $122 more for the exact same product just for giggles?

Really, I would like to know. I have this floating bridge for sale you see…

Anyway, the disparity compounds even further when looking at a one pound purchase. Currently in Washington State a black-market producer can expect, at minimum, $2500 per pound. A pound purchased from a legal retail outlet will cost $5376 per pound at $12 per gram, with sales tax, $5806 per pound.

Now what black-market producer is going to stop what they are already doing, register as a legal producer, and make half of what they were before? As I started this article off with, who is going to quit a $30,000 a year job for a $15,000 one?

A legally produced pound of product will earn the licensed producer $1344 per pound. For a black-market producer making $2500 per pound who becomes legal they will have to produce twice the product as before just to get back up to $0.

After that point all the startup costs such as permits, building leases, zoning inspections, barb wire fences, certified guard towers, licensed machine gun operators, 24 hour a day video surveillance, time share on the aerial drone monitoring your growing district and god knows what else all have to be paid for by producing even more product.

The projected starting annual sales figure of 180,000 pounds of product is based on current usage models and accounts for no increase in costs under a legal system. Doubling production to break even and then tripling it to cover overhead and profits means that a staggering 540,000 pounds, or 270 tons, would need to be produced and then sold annually through legal outlets.

Which does leave the unanswered question of who the hell is going to buy all this dope?

In order for the state to render a black-market pointless it would need to sell at a net retail price of $8.60 per gram, $30.10 per eighth, just to start taking over market share. And then go down from there. However, even at $8.60 per gram, that still leaves a legal price of $3852 per .lb compared with a black-market price of $2500 per .lb which works out to only $5.58 per gram.

Less than half the suggested legal starting price of $12.

The current model being pitched to the public for supporting I-502 is to match the black-market price, then jack that price up over 200% in order to undercut them.

Doomed to fail.

In my opinion the only market projected to get a “cash windfall” from the current version of I-502 is the black one.

If Washington is really serious about severely reducing black-market cannabis production then it should allow people to simply grow their own and adopt a hands off laissez-fair approach to legal retail.

Without this option a consumer is faced with only two choices;

(A) Pay over 200% more for your product

(B) Call up your usual supplier and ask her what she wants on her pizza.

Abbreviations

1 pound (.lb)
1 ounce (.oz)
1 eighth of an ounce (1/8th)
1 gram (g)

Conversion

3.5 grams per eighth
8 eighths per ounce
16 ounces per pound

Producer to Consumer Chain

* $14 per 1/8th = $1792 .lb = Producer $1344 / State $448 (25% tax)
* $1792 + 30% distributor markup = $2329.60 + 25% tax = $2912 .lb = Distributor $537.60 / State $582.40
* $2912 + 30% retail markup = $3785.60 + 25% tax = $4732 .lb = Retailer $873.60 / State $946.40
* $4732 + 8% sales tax = $5110.56 .lb, $319.41 .oz, $39.93 1/8, $11.41 g

legal retail price of $39.93 1/8th * black-market $40.00
legal retail price of $319.41 .oz * black-market $240.00
legal retail price of $5110.56 .lb * black-market $2500

Local sales tax revenue $378.56 per .lb ($23.66 per .oz)
State tax revenue $1976.80 per .lb ($123.55 per .oz)
* 6.5% of local sales tax goes to the state also

Gross Income Totals

legal producer earns $1344 .lb
legal distributor earns $537.60 .lb
legal retailer earns $873.60 .lb
black-market producer earns $2500 .lb

All prices assume a very high quality, medical grade product. A pound of common brown bud, or ditch weed, costs only about $100 or .23¢ a gram.

This article was originally published April 11, 2013 and was rewritten after accounting errors were pointed out by some helpful readers. Thank you!

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     3 opinions about recent news topics that have caught my eye.

Hindenburg Mystery Solved?

     Personally, I thought this mystery had been solved back in 2000, but new headlines are announcing the results of a research team in England claiming the spark starting the fire was from static electricity. The articles are short on facts, being presented as a teaser for a documentary on British Channel 4 rather than an actual news story.

     Whether from static, lightning, conductor or bomb I have been under the impression that what started the fire was secondary to why it consumed the ship so fast. The public broadcast back in 2000 pointed out the powdered aluminum used to give the ship its distinct silver exterior. Watching the video of the disaster even reminds me of a water balloon popping in ultra slow motion. The skin just goes and the interior water sits there for a moment before splashing out. Who really cares what started the fire? Just don’t paint the outside of your ship with solid state rocket fuel.

     What “new” facts come to light we shall see. Fires happen, our modern marvel of today, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner comes to mind and this is 76 years later. If the Hindenburg’s hull had maintained structural integrity even for 30 more seconds that might of let it descend enough and burned off enough gas for at least a chance of survivors. Unlikely, but better than the zero chance those poor buggers had. Hopefully this new study goes into some of that.

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Cannabis Legalization

     Living up here in Washington State this has been a never ending source of amusement since I-502 was passed by voters back in December. Recent in the headlines is the debate over impaired driving, with this “5 nanogram” number being thrown around.

     I find the lack of facts on the issue to be extremely frustrating as a voter. 3 months later and story after story keeps posting up this 5 nanogram number as if it is supposed to mean something. Where is the supporting information? What is the level detected in a blood test 10 minutes after smoking? What is the level 3 hours after smoking? The next day? Where did this 5 nano-number come from in the first place? 7 days after smoking a person might test 5 nanograms so where did these week-long-high buds come from? And are they for sale in Washington?

     CNN recently did a story with at least some information about impaired driving and blood nanogram levels in it. According to that source, after smoking a joint the average level from the test subjects was about 25 nanograms. That is far and above the 5 nanograms opponents of legalization are asking for and this is the only report I have seen with at least some facts in it.

     Both sides of this issue really need to do a better job of informing voters with facts. If supporters of this testing level want my vote then show me the blood test studies so I can make up my own mind as the informed voter I am supposed to be.  As it is now, by all measure I can see, the 5 nanogram level amounts to a zero use policy which is in violation of state law legalizing consumption.

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North Korea
 
     “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” ~ George Santayana ~

     A new leader, a nuclear bomb test and the 38th parallel all rolled into one. While I do feel the Korean War is given the short shaft in our history books, bombing the ass end of this country back into the stone age (again) hopefully will not be needed to refresh some memories.

     I struggle with the reasons why North Korea continues on the path that it does with the international community through its foreign policy. All things considered, the rest of the world is surprisingly tolerant of rogue states. Just play nice and for the most part oppressors are allowed to do whatever.

     After 12 years of police actions in the anti-terror war, rather than be war weary I feel many would see a conflict with North Korea as a refreshing change of pace. Actual borders? Physical territory to occupy? Achievable objectives? A uniformed enemy to target? A South Korea to take over already right there? It would be the most intense six hours of combat the world has ever seen as the U.S. military just blew off steam.

     Ok, that is overly simplistic, but recent actions taken by the North are doing more to provoke an action rather than prevent one. North Korea would be far better served by opening borders to trade, immigration and tourism. Securing a place for itself with the international community through peaceful means is the right way for Kim Jong Un to retain power.

     China is the reason the North still exists and the politics of 1953 are different than today. Recent expansionist actions in the South China Sea does make one wonder if China would be better served in that strategy by allowing the North to end. A unified Korea would presumably see the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Korean peninsula leaving a small country of little threat even if it is headed by the South.

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The opinions expressed in The West Report are the author’s own. Facts, Relevance or Claims of lucidity are purely coincidental.