WSLCB - Board Caucus
(April 16, 2024)

Tuesday April 16, 2024 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM Observed
WSLCB Enforcement Logo

The three-member board of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) meets weekly in caucus to discuss current issues and receive invited briefings from agency staff.


Public health and prevention interests expressed during a closed meeting with WSLCB leaders the previous day were top of mind for board members during the caucus.

Here are some observations from the Tuesday April 16th Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) Board Caucus.

My top 3 takeaways:

  • For several years, WSLCB has hosted quarterly roundtables with substance use prevention interests which had been closed to the public.
    • The roundtables were first documented by Cannabis Observer in August 2019, and the last roundtable infoset was from December 2022 (agenda, planning notes, presentation, chat log). Public records requests have shed some light on conversations at the roundtables, but recordings have never been made which has left gaps in what the public can know about the events.
      • Neither board members nor former Public Health Education Liaison Mary Segawa drew attention to roundtables in 2023 when Segawa returned to the role at the end of 2022, leaving no insight into those conversations.
    • The April 15th gathering also included representatives from the public health space, however access for the press, public, or representatives of industries regulated by WSLCB has remained restricted.
  • Board Chair David Postman provided his impressions from the latest roundtable on Monday April 15th, emphasizing discussions about a data dashboard, flavored vapor products, advertising, and high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) items.
    • Postman attended the roundtable on behalf of the board, and reported there’d been “good examples shared about what other states have been able to do with some fairly sophisticated mapping and other things,” along with “a request to really think big” about the a regulated substances data dashboard. His “only takeaway on that is that we need to encourage the bill sponsor to talk to some stakeholders and hear from them, because I don't think there was a lot of that prior to last session” (audio - 1m, video - WSLCB, video - TVW).
    • Board Member Jim Vollendroff referred to the meeting notes from Public Health Education Liaison Kristen Haley, and brought up “some brief conversations about agency request legislation” around data gathering. He was “glad to see that the prevention-public health community [was] tracking that and interested” in the issue as well (audio - 2m, video - WSLCB, video - TVW).
      • Postman indicated to Director of Policy and External Affairs Justin Nordhorn that it should “go on the list” of possible request bills for the 2025 legislative session, adding Director Will Lukela was similarly “really into it.” Postman recognized there had been concerns with the cost and mandates a data dashboard could place on other state agencies, “but seems to me, all of those are workable problems.”
      • Vollendroff urged agency officials to "talk with the prime sponsor" of HB 2182 and try to draft request bill language “in collaboration” with her. Postman expected licensees would also “have an interest in what's there and how it's successful…if we can just hear from all those folks.” He mentioned that Haley would “be convening different groups going forward…I know that she's already gotten a fair amount of interest in” the subject, and “we'll definitely have those conversations with, with everybody.”
    • Another area that “sparked some conversation,” according to Postman, “was about flavored vapes, across our product types…tobacco, cannabis, general non-nicotine,” and he had asked the team to “try to look at what we can do there” (audio - 2m, video - WSLCB, video - TVW).
      • Cannabis vapor products were where Postman wanted to be “somewhat aggressive,” arguing that “it is the most…unknown piece of this, not that the regular vape world we know a lot about, but we just don't know what's in these things.” He suggested experts had told them flavor “helps appeal to young people,” and was open to exploring “where we have authority.” Postman brought up one attendee who called upon the board to adopt a “resolution calling for the end of this…we don't usually do that, but…let's put it on the table and see what we can do.”
        • HB 2826, a 2020 law passed as part of the State’s response to the vapor associated lung injuries (VALI) health scare in the fall of 2019 established RCW 69.50.327, which stated:
          • (1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, cannabis processors may incorporate in cannabis vapor products a characterizing flavor if the characterizing flavor is derived from botanical terpenes naturally occurring in the cannabis plant, regardless of source, and if the characterizing flavor mimics the terpene profile found in a cannabis plant. Characterizing flavors authorized under this section do not include any synthetic terpenes.
          • (2) If the board determines a characterizing flavor otherwise authorized under this section may pose a risk to public health or youth access, the board may, by rule adopted under RCW 69.50.342, prohibit the use in cannabis vapor products of such a characterizing flavor.
        • The bill also modified RCW 69.50.342(n) to require licensed processors to submit “under oath to the department of health [DOH] a complete list of all constituent substances and the amount and sources thereof in each cannabis vapor product, including all additives, thickening agents, preservatives, compounds, and any other substance used in the production and processing of each cannabis vapor product.”
        • Curiously, a final fiscal note was submitted for the bill on March 16th, 2020---after the close of the legislative session on March 12th---to specify the DOH’s fiscal impacts. The agency claimed no expense would be incurred because “The bill as written requires the Liquor and Cannabis Board to adopt rules requiring processors to submit a complete list to the Department of Health (DOH) of substances contained in their marijuana vapor products, however, the bill does not instruct DOH to store nor process the information, therefore there is no fiscal impact.”
        • In 2021, Cannabis Observer filed a public records request with DOH for vapor product disclosure forms.  The responding official relayed, “We reached out to the Deputy Director of the Office of Policy, Planning and Evaluation for the Department of Health (DOH) and was informed that the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) receives these forms on our behalf. I would suggest that you reach out to LCB to request copies of the records submitted…“
      • Postman referred to a petition which had been submitted on March 24th calling for WSLCB to ban disposable vapor cartridges. Even if vapor product flavors were outside that scope, the subject “would be one that I would put on either potential for agency request legislation, or rulemaking, or something.”
      • Vollendroff agreed, mentiong there’d been federal action on nicotine vapor rules as well, he expected there might be more restrictions on the national level in the future. “We want to be a state that is progressive and supportive of the retail side of things,” he observed, “but we also want to be progressive and supported on the public health side of things.” Vollendroff suspected federal legalization of cannabis would coincide with a “movement to ban these at the federal level. And wouldn't it be great if we were leading by example in this state?” Postman felt that even if there weren’t flavored cannabis vapor products, there would be other cannabis items, and so further restrictions wouldn’t be a “death knell to the industry by any means” (audio - 1m, video - WSLCB, video - TVW).
    • Postman had also heard criticism from roundtable participants over WSLCB support of SB 5363, a 2023 bill to amend cannabis retail signage laws to provide more local control over advertising restrictions along with increasing the number and placement of store signs. He’d felt they’d done the right thing by engaging with interested parties and seeking a compromise. Although SB 5363 wasn’t passed into law, Postman offered no regrets for WSLCB backing of the proposal: “it's about enforcement priorities more than, more than anything.” He added that Director of Legislative Relations Marc Webster was “pretty confident that bill will be back again…in some form” (audio - 2m, video - WSLCB, video - TVW).
    • Vollendroff then asked if "high-THC concentration products" had come up during the roundtable. He said “there's notes here that there's going to be a workgroup or a group of people getting together.” Vollendroff mentioned having emailed Representative Lauren Davis—sponsor of HB 2320, a law on “high THC cannabis products” signed on March 29th—about getting together to “talk about where things were left, and what we should consider moving forward. But bringing together industry and other public health and other people to the table as well”  (audio - 2m, video - WSLCB, video - TVW).
      • Postman replied that the “expert on it" Beatriz Carlini, University of Washington Addictions, Drug, and Alcohol Institute (UW ADAI) Research Scientist at the Cannabis Education and Research Program, had left the event before the topic was broached. Postman said he believed “we have an obligation to stake out a position on this issue, even if it's taxation, which we normally don't, because it really is an emerging issue.” He claimed that attendees from the public health sector “said there were some people on the licensee side who were supportive of trying to find an answer and they had some good conversations.” Postman knew there was “eagerness on public health and prevention's part to, to have those discussions with the industry,” and expected “LCB can play that role…helping to to bring folks together and I know that's an area you're interested in, so maybe that's something that you want to work with Kristen on.”
  • Board members expressed hope that roundtable attendees would also choose to raise their concerns at board meetings and other open forums.
    • Postman called Haley’s notes “comprehensive,” then indicated, “I've been doing those meetings now for three years, we do them quarterly, they've gotten better…more helpful for me, in part because people are more and more open with each other in those meetings. And that's helpful.” He interpreted “people [being] able to express some unhappiness is a good sign, you know, that we're hearing real stuff” (audio - 1m, video - WSLCB, video - TVW).
    • “I really want to see more of the participants in that meeting attend board meetings, as well, and share some of these concerns with us publicly,” Vollendroff remarked, asking that Postman convey that message to attendees in future meetings. Even though there could be “a number of challenges there,” he found “educating the board on positions or concerns [was] an important way for us to make decisions.” Vollendroff called for “members of the prevention and public health community to participate in board meetings…if they can't, maybe they can find a family member who they know has some similar concerns, or other people that could share the message on their behalf” (audio - 1m, video - WSLCB, video - TVW).
      • Postman always appreciated when people could come and explain their issues to board members. He indicated Haley had raised this suggestion during the meeting, and received “a lot of reasons why they say they don't come out in public.” He wanted WSLCB to be a place “as much as possible where we can do that and hear that.”

Information Set

Segment - 01 - Welcome - David Postman (14s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 02 - Update - Public Health and Prevention Roundtable - David Postman (44s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 03 - Update - Public Health and Prevention Roundtable - Data Dashboard - David Postman (44s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 04 - Update - Public Health and Prevention Roundtable - Data Dashboard - Question - 2025 Legislation - Jim Vollendroff (1m 37s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 05 - Update - Public Health and Prevention Roundtable - Flavored Vapor Products - David Postman (1m 56s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 06 - Update - Public Health and Prevention Roundtable - Flavored Vapor Products - Comment - Jim Vollendroff (57s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 07 - Update - Public Health and Prevention Roundtable - Advertising - David Postman (1m 38s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 08 - Update - Public Health and Prevention Roundtable - Question - High-THC Products - Jim Vollendroff (2m 5s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 09 - Update - Public Health and Prevention Roundtable - Wrapping Up - David Postman (39s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 10 - Update - Public Health and Prevention Roundtable - Wrapping Up - Jim Vollendroff (2m 30s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 11 - Update - Jim Vollendroff (6s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 12 - Update - David Postman (27s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 13 - Update - Dustin Dickson (4s) InfoSet ]
Segment - 14 - Wrapping Up - David Postman (11s) InfoSet ]

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1025 Union Ave SE, Olympia, WA 98501, USA



Number: 1.564.999.2000
Conference ID: 620 157 961#

Information Set