Steve Sarich Gives Fellow Medical-Marijuana Advocates the Finger

The Bad Boy of Pot pulls a prank worthy of his title.

As we noted in our cover story last May ("Bad Seed," May 26), medical-marijuana entrepreneur Steve Sarich likes to stir up trouble. And he seems to get a particular kick out of giving the metaphorical finger to pot activists who get on his bad side. Which is exactly what he's done to Sensible Washington, the group that ran last year's failed pot-legalization initiative. As he gleefully told Seattle Weekly last Thursday, Sarich has registered himself as the owner of Sensible Washington with the Secretary of State. Sarich has been busy in the eight months since he was featured in the Weekly, shortly after a shoot-out at the Kirkland home where he ran a dispensary that sold pot to numerous patients. He moved to North Bend, opened a new dispensary in SoDo called Access4Washington, and established offices in Mountlake Terrace for a business he runs providing doctor's authorizations for pot. He has not, however, affiliated himself with Sensible Washington other than through the Secretary of State filing. He and the real head of Sensible Washington, Seattle attorney Douglass Hiatt, have kept each other at arm's length, both professing different philosophies about the pot industry. Hiatt talks up the nonprofit model, which Sarich dismisses as a sham. And the brash entrepreneur isn't enthusiastic about Sensible Washington's crusade to legalize marijuana as a whole, not just for medical purposes. "That's not my issue," he says. Sarich claims he carried out his Secretary of State stunt to make a point. Sensible Washington is done with last year's initiative, Sarich notes, yet the organization has continued to raise money. "Where is the money going?" he asks, suggesting that something nefarious might be afoot if the organization hasn't bothered to register with the Secretary of State. Hiatt concedes that the group has continued to raise money, but says that's because it plans to file a new pot-legalization initiative this week. He adds that registration with the Secretary of State is meaninglessā€”unlikeĀ another stunt foisted upon him last year, when someone laid claim to the attorney's website. Or as Ben Livingston of the Cannabis Defense Coalition puts it, Sarich's shenanigan "seems like more of a funny 'Fuck you' than anything else."

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