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.
A review of open rulemaking, a legislative update, and Cannabis 2.0.
Here are some observations from the February 5th WSLCB Board Caucus. The Board has only subsequently met for the February 6th Executive Management Team (EMT) meeting, cancelling the February 6th Board Meeting, the February 12th Board Caucus, and the February 13th EMT. The WSLCB also announced they have cancelled the upcoming February 20th Board Meeting as well as the February 14th Traceability Advisory Committee meeting.
My top 3 takeaways:
- Cannabis Policy and Rules Coordinator Kathy Hoffman provided the Board with an update on rulemaking activity.
- Mandatory Marijuana Signage. At the January 23rd Board Meeting, Chair Jane Rushford announced the Board would not be adopting the rules drafted in the CR-102, although the Board had been prepared to do so the day before. Hoffman indicated “substantive changes…not minor edits” had been made to the draft rules for mandatory signage required on licensed premises. Hoffman planned to present the revised CR-102 to the Board on March 6th (audio – 2m).
- True Party of Interest Rules. Hoffman reported an internal workgroup had completed a draft and provided it to stakeholders (audio – 2m).
- Board Member Russ Hauge requested a copy and expressed that “if a workgroup produces something that’s going to be put out for comment for stakeholders [he’d] like to see it before it goes out” (audio @ 58s).
- Hoffman expected comments by February 9th, after which the internal workgroup would revisit the draft rules before composing a CR-102.
- Cannabis Penalties. Hoffman indicated rules are currently being drafted by an internal workgroup (audio – 6m).
- Hoffman assured the Board “we’ve heard the concerns of stakeholders with respect to these [rules] and we’re considering all of the opportunities available to us for improvement.”
- The current internal workgroup:
- Justin Nordhorn, Chief of Enforcement
- Jennifer Dzubay, Enforcement Commander
- Josh Bolander, Enforcement Staff
- Kathy Hoffman, Policy and Rules Coordinator
- The workgroup aims to complete a full evaluation of the current penalty structure and make revisions that are both “meaningful” and “thoughtful.”
- Rushford started an interesting conversation about a conceptual shift to regard licensees as “business owners” first and foremost (audio @ 3m47s).
- Quality Assurance Testing and Product Requirements. The WSLCB, Department of Ecology (DOE), Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), and Department of Health (DOH) planned to meet the following week to review proposed rules (audio – 4m).
- Hoffman is working on a cost benefit analysis seeking to compare lab sampling vs. producer sampling while taking into account factors such as transportation costs and the impact of changes in lot sizes (audio @ 33s).
- Hoffman planned to present her research to the Board the following week.
- A tentative and “heavily facilitated…stakeholder information session” had been scheduled to present the draft rules and ask for comments (audio @ 1m46s).
- Hoffman indicated a second stakeholder meeting was a possibility depending on feedback received at the initial meeting.
- Canopy Rules. The agency was waiting for the finalized Canopy Team report from the Marijuana Examiners to move forward (audio -1m).
- At the January 23rd Executive Management Team meeting, Marijuana Examiners Manager Kendra Hodgson delivered a summary of the Canopy Team’s findings from the first year of surveys and led thirty minutes of discussion with agency leadership.
- Chair Rushford walked the Board through a legislative update (audio – 3m).
- Board Member Russ Hauge brought up the filing of “an on-site consumption bill” HB 1945 drafted by Cannabis Observer Bailey Hirschburg, adding “I think that’s good news” (audio @ 36s).
- Hauge made a request: “if there are going to be legislative discussions about [the WSLCB’s] enforcement procedures, that a board member be part of those discussions” rather than Director Rick Garza because “he would tell you he doesn’t really have a solid understanding of the [litigation] process” (audio @ 1m20s).
- Chair Rushford touched on the Cannabis 2.0 project (audio – 2m).
- Rushford said she was organizing an initial 3-hour meeting with Garza, Nordhorn, Hodgson, Hoffman, Director of Licensing and Regulation Becky Smith, facilitator Paul Dziedzic, and herself.
- The Board would be directly engaged in the project at the end of February.
- Rushford hoped this work would “connect some of the dots“ the Board has been talking about: “we’re in a different place, we’re at the five year mark, we are no longer beginning this, we are now establishing this in a new way.” The Board concurred (audio @ 50s).