The Washington State Senate Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks Committee (WA Senate AWNP) considers issues relating to agricultural production, marketing, and sales. The committee looks at water issues, including water quantity and municipal water. The committee has oversight over matters relating to fish and wildlife, as well as mining, forest practices and forest fire protection. The committee also considers parks and recreation and issues relating to aquatic lands and the management of certain state owned lands.
On Friday morning April 12th, the Washington State Senate Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources, and Parks Committee (WA Senate AWNP) hosted an executive session for HB 1401 without hosting a public hearing for the bill and two days after the committee report cutoff.
- HB 1401 – “Concerning hemp production.”
- See Cannabis Observer’s house of origin cutoff summary.
- Just last week, Cannabis Observer considered E2SHB 1401 inactive for the remainder of the session as the Senate Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources, and Parks Committee (AWNP) had not granted the bill a public hearing nor executive session prior to the committee report cutoff. In contrast, the Senate version of the hemp bill, SB 5276, was positioned for its second reading in the House. But as we’ve seen with other cannabis legislation this session, bills remain active if they have a fiscal note attached as that appears sufficient to consider them “necessary to implement the budget” (NTIB).
- Rumor has it that E2SHB 1401 became the preferred hemp vehicle because bills sponsored by Senator Ericksen are not being passed by legislators. A review of the bills introduced by Ericksen as prime sponsor confirms he has not had much success moving his bills this session – and SB 5276 was his last active bill.
- A striking amendment, 1401-S2.E AMS AWNP S3919.2, was adopted with the following impacts (video):
- Changes the term “grower” to “producer” in certain circumstances. Provides that Washington State University may, within existing resources, develop and make accessible an internet-based application to assist hemp producers with planting times. Requires the Department of Agriculture to regulate the processing of hemp for food products, that are allowable under federal law, in the same manner as other food processing. Clarifies the definition of “postharvest test”. Removes the null and void clause.
- Provides that all receipts from fees are deposited in the Hemp Regulatory Account. Eliminates the requirement that the United States Department of Agriculture must approve Washington’s hemp plan before expedited rule making to adopt the state hemp plan may begin. Removes the prohibition in the Industrial Hemp Research Program on processing industrial hemp, except seed, as food, extract, oil, or other preparation for topical use, oral consumption, or inhalation by humans.
- The two members of the seven-member committee present for the executive session, Committee Chair Kevin Van De Wege and Senator Jim Honeyford, made short work of amending and referring the bill to the Senate Rules Committee, concluding their dedicated public meeting in 69 seconds to the laughter of staffers present.