WA Governor - Bill Action
(April 16, 2021)

Friday April 16, 2021 10:00 AM - 10:30 AM
Washington State Executive Department Seal

The Washington State Office of the Governor (WA Governor) hosts public bill signing ceremonies in response to the passage of legislation by the Washington State Legislature.

Bill Signing

  • SB 5372 - "Concerning hemp processor registration and a hemp extract certification."


A law establishing voluntary hemp processor registration and facility certification was signed and rulemaking was underway - but the opening of a new market was said to justify emergency action.

Here are some observations from the Friday April 16th Washington State Office of the Governor (WA Governor) bill action.

My top 3 takeaways:

  • Governor Jay Inslee signed SB 5372, "Concerning hemp processor registration and a hemp extract certification," amending the state hemp program to mandate the creation of a voluntary registration process and method for certifying processor facilities (audio - <1m, video).
  • Following the bill’s signing, Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) staff initiated two rulemaking projects to implement the law - but then issued emergency rules on hemp extract facility certification on November 30th.
    • On September 15th, WSDA hemp program staff filed a CR-101 to start rulemaking on voluntary registration of processors. On November 2nd, a CR-102 was filed which proposed amendments to hemp rules in WAC 16-306 to outline “the process for hemp processors to voluntarily register with the department, including specifying the information required on the registration application as well as the registration fee.”
      • The document stated other changes involved fees, “an amount that will fund the implementation of this chapter and sustain the hemp program. It was determined that the appropriate fee for registration with the department be set at $1,200 for a three-year registration ($400 per year). Additionally, the department added clarifying language to distinguish between hemp processors and hemp producers and removed obsolete language regarding hemp producer licensing fees.”
      • A public hearing on the proposed rules was scheduled for Tuesday December 7th.
    • Earlier on July 20th, WSDA Food Safety officials took initial steps towards regulating hemp processing by filing a CR-101 to initiate rulemaking for hemp extract certification. At publication time, no additional formal actions had been taken on that rulemaking project.
    • However, on November 30th, department representatives announced an Emergency Rulemaking Order which took effect immediately and would remain in effect until March 30, 2022. The order created WAC 16-171 for Hemp Extract Certification, with officials arguing that although rulemaking related to SB 5372 was underway, “other states are also making changes to their hemp programs and establishing new markets for hemp products at an unprecedented pace. Many of these new opportunities require that hemp extracts...be sourced from a state that regulates hemp extracts under a food safety program.”
      • The “Reasons for this finding” in the CR-103E elaborated that one “crucial example of this is the recent passage of California’s Assembly Bill 45 (AB 45), which will allow for the inclusion of hemp extract in consumable products within the state.” That bill mandated that out-of-state hemp extracts “be inspected under a food safety program,” presenting “a substantial opportunity...it is expected that many major national consumer product companies will rapidly introduce a number of food, beverage, and other branded products in the state. Supply lines and relationships for hemp ingredients to be included in these products will form rapidly.” 
      • Due to AB 45, the new hemp market in California “will undoubtedly draw hemp processors from around the country who are seeking to export their hemp products to California. Those processors who are able to promptly establish supply relationships to provide hemp products early on will have the opportunity to secure a market position that could last for many years to come.” This “very significant opportunity for Washington’s hemp processors” had allegedly been limited by “the timeline necessary to establish permanent rules regarding hemp extract certification” leaving all “extract processors in this state at a severe disadvantage.”
      • WSDA staff were convinced that “the economic consequences of failing to have Washington’s hemp extract certification process in place at the time of California’s regulations are implemented would be expansive,” and “if the processors miss out on the opportunity to establish key supply relationships at the onset of the California market, it will set Washington hemp industry back significantly and will exacerbate the existing competitive differences between the states.” As this would have “a long-lasting effect that will likely take many years to remedy if it can be remedied at all,” WSDA leaders “determined that establishing a temporary hemp certification process until the permanent rule can be adopted is necessary to protect the general welfare of Washington’s hemp industry.”
      • The announcement indicated that those wishing to discuss “implementation and enforcement of the adopted rule should contact David Smith, WSDA Food Safety & Consumer Services Division Food Safety Program Manager.

Information Set