Quarterly Newsletter (2019 Q2)
This legislative and regulatory update is brought to you by Cannabis Observer. Alliance member Cannabis Observer is a community-supported team of citizen observers tracking cannabis policymaking in Washington State. Here are some of their observations from the second quarter of 2019.
Vacating Misdemeanor Possession Convictions (SB 5605). On May 13th, Governor Jay Inslee signed the bill into law with an effective date of July 28th.
At The Cannabis Alliance’s Washington State Cannabis Summit in January, Governor Jay Inslee announced the Marijuana Justice Initiative, a special pardon program for state misdemeanor cannabis convictions.
Details on SB 5605’s committee report cutoff, opposite house cutoff, sine die cutoff, and executive action.
Testing Lab Accreditation (HB 2052). On May 7th, Governor Inslee signed the legislation into law with an effective date of July 28th.
Details on HB 2052’s committee report cutoff, opposite house cutoff, sine die cutoff, and executive action.
The new law has been discussed twice this month, once at WSLCB’s Lab Licensure session and again at an Executive Management Team meeting.
WSLCB Enforcement Restructuring (SB 5318). On May 13th, the bill was signed with an effective date of July 28th.
Details on SB 5318’s committee report cutoff, opposite house cutoff, sine die cutoff, and executive action.
The bill has been discussed in regards to WSLCB enforcement consistency and rulemaking for cannabis penalties and a prospective consultation program.
Labeling (SB 5298). On May 13th, Governor Inslee signed the bill. It has an effective date of January 1st, 2020.
Details on the committee report cutoff, opposite house cutoff, sine die cutoff, and executive action.
The legislation was mentioned at the agency when opening new packaging and labeling rulemaking.
Hemp (SB 5276). On April 26th the legislation was signed into law and took immediate effect.
Details on SB 5276’s committee report cutoff, opposite house cutoff, sine die cutoff, and executive action.
WSLCB Director Rick Garza mentioned consulting on the bill’s implementation with the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), which posted an update in an April blog post.
Two bills prioritized by the Alliance were not passed by the legislature this year: SB 5234 (Removing Excise Tax for Patients) and HB 1974 (Cannabis Commission). Both bills remain alive for the 2020 legislative session.
WSLCB – Board and Agency Projects
Board Member Russ Hauge has repeatedly discussed a new classification for craft cannabis products. The exit from the market of a prominent Tier 1 producer encouraged the Board to contemplate ways to help smaller cannabis businesses.
Board Member Ollie Garrett’s focus on social equity in the cannabis industry has progressed with a recent agency white paper on the subject intended to help guide policy choices.
Board Chair Jane Rushford launched a much-discussed “Cannabis 2.0” project and recently engaged other state agencies with an eye towards the next generation of cannabis regulation.
The Board is considering ways to help medical cannabis patients, including the addition of a patient representative on the Cannabis Advisory Council.
The legislature appropriated $100K to WSLCB to perform an interim study on a variable cannabis excise tax rate pegged to product potency.
WSLCB – Traceability and Workgroup Updates
Updates to the State’s traceability system, Leaf Data Systems by MJ Freeway, have been repeatedly delayed leading to criticism of the vendor.
The first meeting of the re-established Tribal Advisory Council was held in April after the agency suddenly withdrew rulemaking on acceptable tribal identification.
Policy and Rules Coordinator Kathy Hoffman hosted the agencies first listen and learn forum on Quality Assurance (QA) Testing and Product Requirements. Cannabis Examiner Manager Kendra Hodgson provided a quarterly lab update and hosted another listen and learn session on Lab Licensure. The agency’s second listen and learn forum on QA Testing was abruptly cancelled.
WSLCB – Cannabis rulemaking projects and policy changes
Cannabis Penalties (CR-101 WSR 18-22-099). A significant update of the penalty matrices for licensee offenses, including some which were mandated by the legislature. Mentioned May 29th, June 12th, and June 25th.
True Party of Interest (CR-101 WSR 18-22-054). A revision of fundamental definitions about licensure and control. Mentioned May 29th, June 12th, and June 25th.
Quality Assurance Testing and Product Requirements (CR-101 WSR 18-17-041). Adjusting rules to align with Department of Health standards on medically compliant products and update testing requirements generally. Mentioned May 29th, June 12th, and June 25th.
Mandatory Marijuana Signage (CR-103P WSR 19-10-076). Amends rules regarding mandatory signage licensees must post. Mentioned May 1st.
Packaging and Labeling (CR-101 WSR 19-12-029). Implementing requirements from enacted legislation and revising packaging requirements. Includes petitions for rule changes from the Cannabis Alliance. Mentioned May 29th, June 12th, and June 25th.
Vapor Product Rules (CR-101 WSR 18-24-031). Outlines requirements on vapor products licenses, owners, violations and suspensions. Mentioned May 29th, and June 25th.
Board Members also approved a new board interim policy suspending a rule which required entering cannabidiol (CBD) additives from outside the 502 system into traceability software.
WSLCB – Miscellaneous Updates
WSLCB’s position on cannabis advertising led to a First Amendment lawsuit against the agency by Seattle Hempfest which Hauge felt reflected poorly on the Board. The agency published a clarifying and superseding bulletin regarding event advertising June 26th.
The agency moves into new offices in downtown Olympia this month and is planning an on-the-road Board Meeting in Bothell for August 21st.
The Board met the new Public Health Education Liaison, Sara Cooley Broschart.
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