Harris Sliwoski in the News

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Recent Articles

Washington To Do Away With 37% Medical Cannabis Tax

Harris Sliwoski in High Times

March 25th, 2024

The Seattle law firm Harris Sliwoski provided more background on the measure and its journey through the Washington legislature, noting that the 37 percent tax imposed an unnecessary burden on patients.

“On March 6, 2024, the Washington Senate passed HB 1453 which will provide an exemption from the 37% excise tax for medical cannabis patients and designated providers. The bill now waits for signatures and executive action to become law. First introduced in 2023, HB 1453 sought to harmonize the existing medical exemptions from general sales and use taxes with the 37% excise tax on cannabis sales,” the law firm explained. “Medical cannabis patients and providers face a significant financial burden when patients and providers are unfairly taxed the same as recreational consumers. Primarily, medical cannabis is not recreational or a luxury, but a necessity for many people who suffer from chronic pain, epilepsy, PTSD, and other conditions. Medical cannabis is often the only effective treatment that allows them to function and improve their quality of life. Medical cannabis patients and providers must already jump through additional regulatory hoops to stay compliant with the LCB and the DOH and the imposition of additional taxes only exacerbates this hardship. Medical cannabis patients and providers follow strict rules and guidelines to access the medicine not required by recreational cannabis users and providers, and it is unjust to further penalize those medical patients and providers.”

“Adding a tax aimed at recreational sales on top of that makes it even more unaffordable for many patients who are already struggling financially. This can force them to reduce their dosage, switch to cheaper but less effective products, or even turn to the recreational market which does not have the same DOH requirements and compliance standards,” the firm said. “Taxing medical cannabis patients the same as recreational consumers is a form of discrimination that harms their health and well-being. It also goes against the principle of harm reduction, which is one basis of medical cannabis legalization policy.”

The bill will now head to the desk of Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee. If he adds his signature, the bill “will take effect ninety (90) days after the adjournment of the current legislative session and will provide medical cannabis patients and providers a much-needed tax exemption for their medicine,” Harris Sliwoski said.

Stop Sending Me Weed Through the Mail

Aaron Pelley in High Times

December 26th, 2022

Rather than continue wallowing in paranoia, I decided to pick up the phone and call cannabis law attorney Aaron Pelley with Seattle-based firm Cultivia Law. Aaron’s been getting real-deal cannabis outlaws out of trouble for years. If anyone was going to help stop the cops from crawling up my sphincter, it was him. His advice: If the postmaster calls, or if the cops show up at the office door, don’t say a word. As long as the sender or recipient doesn’t fess up, they have no case.

“They can’t do anything or prove anything if you don’t fucking talk,” Pelley told me. “So, all you have to do is shut up. It’s not a complicated situation because they can’t prove that you knew or should have known cannabis was coming to you. There’s been some situations where they’ve put cameras in the package so they can see the person open it. So fucking what? I don’t know where people get the idea that that would somehow implicate that you knew or should have known cannabis was being shipped. I suppose after you open it, if you say ‘awesome, they sent me the weed I asked for,’ but none of that ever actually happens. I’ve had people shipping basketball sized amounts of weed and getting it intercepted. And as long as everybody didn’t respond to anyone, including the senders, nothing ever happened. They can’t necessarily prove the sender sent it and they don’t want to go through the trouble of pulling video footage for prosecutors.”

Although sending and receiving weed through the mail is a federal offense, Pelley says Uncle Sam rarely gets involved. He’s only known one incident where they sent in the hounds, and it was for a four-foot-tall pallet of weed. As for the local cops looking to get a pot bust, “nobody is home,” Pelley asserts. “Local cops want headlines. But it’s a federal crime that has mandatory minimums. Prison time,” he continued. “That said, if people don’t respond to the communications (from the postmaster or the police), the burden of proof is quite heavy, and the interest is quite low.”

For the next two days, I still remained a little paranoid. Those bastards were going to show up any moment and at least try to give me that cannabis colonoscopy, I just knew it. It wasn’t until the following Sunday that I stumbled across a news article from one of my local television stations showing that $180,000 worth of marijuana (90 pounds) was found in my hometown. It had been shipped from California to Evansville, and a woman named Hua Hou was in custody. It was her, not me they were after. They got their headline. After being scared shitless for days, I found some semblance of relief knowing that someone else other than me was shacking up with blanket-thieving felons. But if what Pelley said was true, I began to ponder, and the interest is low, why was this woman arrested? “Ninety pounds is a lot of weed,” he said. “I suspect that she picked up the packages and got busted, and then she probably sung,” Pelley added, saying that she would have had a leg to stand on if she had just lawyered up and stayed quiet.

“Even if it’s true that you didn’t have any idea that weed was coming, you don’t have control of the narrative,” Pelley explained. “The cop can write down anything he wants. If the only thing a cop can write down is that they exercised their right to remain silent and asked for an attorney, they’ll have to figure out their evidence from there. As soon as you shut up, their job becomes infinitely harder to prove or say that you had something to do with it. But it gets a lot easier as soon as you start talking.”

As for me, I wasn’t saying shit!

Still, I felt I was deserving of restitution for pain and suffering. Perhaps the public relations firms owed me a stack of cash for nearly becoming the scapegoat for their dipshitery. The whole affair must have sawed five years off my life. I now have PTSD: Postal Traumatic Stress Disorder. I’ll have to ask Aaron about a lawsuit. So, please, for the last time, stop sending me pot through the mail (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). And if you do—again, don’t—make it a reasonable amount.

“They’re not looking for one ounce of weed,” Pelley demands.