By Jeff Chew
Peninsula Daily News
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Finch, a 27-year-old Sequim-area resident, has opened the nonprofit Rain Shadow Cannabis Co-Operative for business, the second medical marijuana dispensary in Clallam County and on the North Olympic Peninsula, law enforcement officers say.
“The purpose of Rain Shadow Cannabis Co-Operative is to bring together medical marijuana patients so that they may obtain medical marijuana and cannabis products,” he said, with the primary goal to “help to improve the condition of people with terminal and debilitating conditions.”
Finch — who grew up in Sequim, graduated from Sequim High School and earned a bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Washington — admitted he was nervous when speaking to a Peninsula Daily News reporter earlier this week.
He chose his words carefully, saying he fears he might look as if he is lobbying for medical marijuana, when he is not.
Finch said all the medical marijuana he will provide is produced in-state by those who carry the legal authorization to do so.
While Finch is a provider, he declined to say if he grows medical marijuana.
He said he doesn't charge a fee. Instead, as a nonprofit, he requests a donation.
The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes was authorized by the state's Medical Marijuana Act, passed by voters in 1998.
The act allows patients to grow the plants themselves or authorize someone to provide it for them.
The other medical marijuana dispensary on the Peninsula is inside the Port Angeles city limit: Olympian Canna LLC, run by Richard Pharr.
The 31-year-old Port Angeles resident and his wife, Misty, opened the dispensary at 303 Tumwater Truck Route on Dec. 1. Pharr accepts appointments.
Finch's new operation is strictly a private transaction by e-mail that involves legal verification and delivery to a person's home or other private location.
Both Ron Cameron, Clallam County chief criminal deputy and a member of Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Team, and Jefferson County Sheriff Tony Hernandez, OPNET chairman, said there are only two dispensaries on the Peninsula.
Cameron said the Clallam County Sheriff's Department would be communicating with Finch, who said he has not heard from the department since he sent an e-mail last weekend.
“My only concern is to have a clear and concise law,” Cameron said, referring to the state Legislature, which is now refining the state's medical marijuana law.
Hernandez recommends that Finch sit down with the law enforcement agency to have a discussion.
“The main thing is that we look for compliance,” Hernandez said.
“The laws are ambiguous and allow for long leeway for legal interpretation.”
Among those who qualify for medical marijuana, under state law, are patients suffering from cancer, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), multiple sclerosis, epilepsy or other seizure disorder, spasticity disorders, intractable pain, glaucoma, Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's disease.
Finch said he has two clients he is serving so far.
Prospective members must sign Rain Shadow Cannabis Co-Operative's membership agreement and authorize the release of health care information relating to the authorization to use medical marijuana.
Finch said prospective members can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He also has launched a blog at www.rainshadowcannabis.wordpress.com to communicate with patients.
Clients who wish to obtain medical marijuana are required to obtain legal documents from a professional health care provider who grants qualified medical marijuana user status.
“The nonprofit corporation strictly adheres to those rules set forth in the registered codes of Washington . . . and other registered codes of Washington so as to assure a friendly, legal, professional, and safe patient network dispensary service for authorized Washington state medical marijuana patients,” Finch says on his website.
“I want to improve the lives of people with terminal or debilitating conditions as recognized under the Medical Marijuana Act and develop this with the community in mind,” Finch said.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Jeff Chew can be reached at 360-681-2391 or at email@example.com.