WSLCB - Executive Management Team
(August 9, 2023)

Wednesday August 9, 2023 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM Observed
WSLCB Enforcement Logo

The three-member board of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) and agency leadership meet weekly as the Executive Management Team to facilitate coordination between the appointed Board and staff.


The board heard about implementation of legislation and possible request bills; social equity applications; lab authority transfer; plus updates on medical endorsements and hiring.

Here are some observations from the Wednesday August 9th Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) Executive Management Team (EMT) public meeting.

My top 4 takeaways:

  • Director of Legislative Relations Marc Webster mentioned a new legislative implementation tracker as well as agency request legislation concepts under consideration by staff.
    • Webster previously spoke to the implementation tracking system on June 14th.
    • In caucus, Webster welcomed input from the board and staff on a tracking system link he’d shared. He credited Judy Edwards in the Enforcement and Education office for updating information on “some pretty tricky things” agency staff were following. Looking ahead to the 2024 legislative session, Webster planned to schedule time with each board member. He understood staff were already hearing “daily” from stakeholders sharing legislative ideas, “and also their own priorities” (audio - 2m, Video - TVW).
      • “And I definitely heard during the session that you all…wanted a chance to think through some of those bills” or legislative mandates, he said, along with potentially having the agency weigh in on “external bills.” Webster would look to include those conversations in weekly one-on-one meetings with the board during the legislative session.
    • Board Chair David Postman observed it would be a 60-day “short session” and that bill issues could be divided up among board members based on their professed interests so Webster wouldn’t have to repeat all briefings to each member. Webster felt he could still find the “overarching areas that you want to think about” from internal meetings (audio - 1mVideo - TVW).
    • Board Member Jim Vollendroff provided his appreciation for Websters’ work, commenting how “there were a lot of things that came up in the [2023] legislative session that later I would say ‘hey, how come we're not tracking this one’ or ‘how come we don't have an opinion on that one?’” He looked forward to “staying on top” of issues, regardless of whether the board ultimately weighed in (audio - 1m, Video - TVW).
    • Director of Policy and External Affairs Justin Nordhorn brought up draft proposals for 2024 agency request bills, stressing none were a “done deal” before staff and stakeholders had a chance to weigh in (audio - 1m, Video - TVW).
      • Contract Growing for Patients (audio - 1mVideo - TVW)
        • Nordhorn explained an idea “focused around the medical cannabis program and patient support and access around some contract growing.” He said this would be “expanding off of what's currently allowed in law” because “producers can sell…clones and immature plants to patientswho registered with the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). The concept would allow those patients “to grow to full extent, [but] pulling out of the homes” in favor of licensed production facilities, Nordhorn reported.
      • Cannabis Advertising (audio - 2mVideo - TVW)
        • Advertising had been “an issue for LCB for many years,” commented Nordhorn, and the legislation would help in “trying to create some clarity.” He anticipated significant feedback, “and what we're trying to do is take a look at advertising and create a little bit better alignment with the other major restricted products, like alcohol where the trade name is not really considered one of your outside signs.” Nordhorn felt it was possible to have a bit more business exposure and clarity “building off of last year's legislation around…separating alcohol and cannabis” by explicitly stating alcohol and cannabis products couldn’t be advertised in or around the premises of a different license type, or “correlating with motor vehicles and driving.”
    • Nordhorn noted that three webinars were scheduled to gather public input and answer questions on the draft concepts on August 11th, Thursday August 17th, and Monday August 21st. He added that agency staff were meeting directly with association representatives (audio - 1m, Video - TVW).
  • Licensing division staff were waiting for scored applications from Ponder Diversity Group (PDG) and staff indicated that implementation of legislation modifying the social equity program was underway.
    • Director of Licensing Becky Smith talked about the status of social equity retail applicants being evaluated by the third-party vendor on July 19th.
    • Smith told the group that her office was “still waiting for the return of the social equity applications” from PDG staff, expecting “that will happen later this month towards the end of the month we're hoping.” Addressing SB 5080, a law expanding the WSLCB social equity program which was passed on May 1st, Smith stated those present were part of the “team that works on…putting that 5080 bill in place. We have done a reach out to the [Washington State] Equity Office, as well as” the Washington State Department of Commerce (WA Commerce) and Washington State Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprises. She was following up with WA Commerce staff to see “what their education looks like,” and intended to have Office of Equity officials review legislative changes to disproportionately impacted area (DIA) mapping (audio - 1m, Video - TVW).
    • Director of Communications Brian Smith pointed out that he’d shared with board members and staff a “draft plan” for communications as the applications progressed. “Tomorrow we meet as [Becky Smith] said, with the larger group to kind of talk through” that plan, he remarked, “once this first round of 46 comes in.” He also would look at “the broader….messaging for how we're going to roll out and implement 5080” (audio - 1m, Video - TVW).
    • Nordhorn commented that the agency had “really strong plans" crafted by the Licensing team for SB 5080 implementation while still managing retail applications that had already been submitted (audio - 2mVideo - TVW).
  • WSLCB representatives on the Cannabis Lab Accreditations Standard Program (CLASP) discussed meetings between agencies and the possibility that authority for laboratory accreditation could be transferred again.
    • The shift of laboratory accreditation authority from WSLCB to the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) led to a 2022 law which required the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) to head up the CLASP, which included designees of WSLCB and DOH.
    • Nordhorn broached the subject by mentioning a meeting he’d attended with WSDA and DOE staff involving CLASP rule development. There’d been "a lot of discussion back and forth" on handing over “the work [accreditation contractor] RJ Lee is doing…to another agency,” and Nordhorn emphasized they were keeping staff at the governor’s office apprised of progress (audio - 1m, Video - TVW).
    • Postman asked whether CLASP development featured “conversations include a proposal to move that from Ecology to Ag[riculture]” (audio - 2m, Video - TVW).
      • Nordhorn was aware of the idea, but had been telling stakeholders “that would require legislation. The program has to have a transition by July of 2024, so we can't wait until the end of legislative session…the rules need to be in place by the end of June” 2024. Postman remarked this timeline was already “beyond what we originally thought it was going to be.” Nordhorn agreed, adding the plan was to have rules in place for Ecology to take over accreditation, “and then if it does shift legislatively,” agencies would respond accordingly. 
      • Nordhorn explained there could be request legislation “from another agency on this issue.” Postman clarified responsibility for labs had moved to DOE, as “Ecology has that specialty, right? That's kind of their thing,” whereas WSDA officials ran “testing labs on our behalf.” He wondered whether it was better to have separate agencies involved or not, but Nordhorn would not take a position on legislative intent. “But what I can say is RJ Lee is doing independent work right now from [WSDA], and the interest was to move what they're doing into a state agency, which would be Ecology at this point.”
      • “I'm just saying for me, I got a high bar for moving this again,” Postman told the group. Because WSDA was leading on creating lab standards, Nordhorn felt “that's where the debate is on what makes the most sense of where it lives, but we haven't provided feedback on whether the board would support that type of proposal.” He continued, saying agency leaders wouldn’t have an opinion absent proposed language on the matter.


Segment - 01 - Welcome - David Postman (17s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 02 - Executive Session (38m 12s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 03 - Update - Legislative Affairs - Marc Webster (1m 55s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 04 - Update - Legislative Affairs - Comment - David Postman (38s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 05 - Update - Legislative Affairs - Comment - Jim Vollendroff (39s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 06 - Update - Licensing - Becky Smith (1m 55s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 07 - Update - Licensing - Medical Endorsements - Becky Smith (58s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 08 - Update - Licensing - Reinstating Licenses in Pasco - Becky Smith (32s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 09 - Update - Licensing - Becky Smith (56s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 10 - Update - Licensing - Social Equity - Becky Smith (1m 25s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 11 - Update - Communications - Brian Smith (29s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 12 - Update - Communications - Biometric IDs - Brian Smith (33s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 13 - Update - Communications - Biometric IDs - Comment - David Postman (29s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 14 - Update - Communications - Social Equity - Brian Smith (50s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 15 - Update - Communications - Brian Smith (3m 6s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 16 - Update - Communications - Question - Plaintalk EO - Justin Nordhorn (1m 32s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 17 - Update - Communications - SMP - Brian Smith (1m 3s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 18 - Update - Communications - SMP - Question - Phase II - David Postman (11s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 19 - Update - Communications - Brian Smith (21s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 20 - Update - Policy and External Affairs - Retirement of Mary Segawa - Justin Nordhorn (1m 14s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 21 - Update - Policy and External Affairs - Replacing Policy and Rules Coordinator - Justin Nordhorn (32s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 22 - Update - Policy and External Affairs - Agency Request Legislation Proposals - Justin Nordhorn (48s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 23 - Update - Policy and External Affairs - Agency Request Legislation Proposals - Contract Growing for Patients - Justin Nordhorn (44s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 24 - Update - Policy and External Affairs - Agency Request Legislation Proposals - Cannabis Advertising - Justin Nordhorn (1m 36s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 25 - Update - Policy and External Affairs - Agency Request Legislation Proposals - Alcohol Penalties - Justin Nordhorn (1m 32s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 26 - Update - Policy and External Affairs - Agency Request Legislation Proposals - Justin Nordhorn (51s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 27 - Update - Policy and External Affairs - Biometric IDs - Justin Nordhorn (1m 57s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 28 - Update - Policy and External Affairs - Biometric IDs - Question - Checking IDs - David Postman (2m 10s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 29 - Update - Policy and External Affairs - Biometric IDs - Question - Self-Serve Kiosks - David Postman (1m 31s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 30 - Update - Policy and External Affairs - Biometric IDs - Question - Compliance Checks - David Postman (58s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 31 - Update - Policy and External Affairs - CLASP - Justin Nordhorn (54s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 32 - Update - Policy and External Affairs - CLASP - Question - WSDA as Accrediting Agency - David Postman (2m 23s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 33 - Update - Policy and External Affairs - Justin Nordhorn (1m 46s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 34 - Update - Director - Will Lukela (46s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 35 - Update - Jim Vollendroff (8s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 36 - Update - David Postman (18s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 37 - Wrapping Up - David Postman (24s) InfoSet ]

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