Why Did Councilmember Lawson Recuse Himself?
By Jordan Nailon
When Lacey City Councilman Ron Lawson recused himself from the business license appeal hearing for Lacey Cross on December 1st, a hushed murmur spread through the crowd gathered at City Hall as many folks wondered aloud about his reasoning. Others later expressed a sense of betrayal towards a man who many in the medicinal cannabis movement had considered to be a strong ally.
“Just being a patient doesn’t preclude you from a vote,” stated Ezra Eickmeyer, political activist and spokesperson for Lacey Cross. “Unless he has some sort of business connections with somebody in the city. It would be interesting to see why he would recuse himself.”
Granted, a person is surely allowed to change their mind regarding highly sensitive and ever evolving decisions, especially of a politically charged nature. But what if grumblings of backdoor dealings and affiliations proved to be true?
When I asked councilman Lawson if he had ever had any type of business affiliation with Lacey Cross he replied, “None whatsoever. As far as medicine is concerned, I grow my own. I don’t go to any of the dispensaries. Occasionally I will buy a brownie or a piece of candy or something.” Asked to clarify that statement which seemed not only to contradict itself but also his sworn testimony before the Lacey City Council regarding Lacey Cross specifically, he clarified, “I have been in the dispensary and purchased product myself.”
According to the former and current owners of Lacey Cross, Lance Gloor and Casey Lee respectively, even that clarification does not ring entirely true from their former proponent. While they concede that it may be factual that Lawson grows his own cannabis, and that he had previously obtained his medicine through Lacey Cross, they both voiced one abject contention. “We gave him his plants. We never charged him for it though,” said Lee. Gloor went a step further, saying, “We told him that his money was no good here. That’s what I was doing, basically greasing a politicians pockets.”
According to Gloor, in the wake of the sweeping raids and the absence of criminal charges, he has been contacted on multiple occasions by a Thurston County Narcotics Task Force member, Detective Kevin Landwehrle. By Gloor’s account, Landewehrle’s main concerns have been regarding various improprieties within local law enforcement and government relating to the local medicinal marijuana community, including Lawson’s alleged City Council discount. The Thurston County Narcotics Task Force was not available for comment on this specific issue.
For his part, Lawson seems to agree, at least partially with the Lacey Cross version of events. “I offered to pay,” he explained, “and they said that they don’t take money.” He added that he has also visited dispensaries in the Tacoma area and at that at some point, “I did pay. I don’t remember the specific times, but I did pay. I pay when payment is accepted.”
According to Lacey Cross that is never.
So what was it that induced Lawson’s quick flip-flop on an issue that he has in the past been so publicly supportive, a sincere change of heart or a primal self preservation instinct to distance oneself from troubled associates? After all, in a few short weeks Lawson went from publicly lauding Lacey Cross to running a personal campaign against against them on websites like Facebook and SensibleThurstonCounty.co
“The reason I initially went out and supported Lacey Cross were private reasons,” explained Lawson. And, “The new facts made it impossible for me to support them. The reason I withdrew my support has been conversed by nearly everyone in this community.” Asked to specify those “facts” for those who may not have been privy to them he declined, stating, “That has been discussed publicly and on Facebook. I’m not going to go back and reiterate them.”