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.
Legislative predictions, the medical home delivery report, the latest cannabis rulemaking, and a new Tribal Liaison.
Here are some observations from the November 13th WSLCB Board Caucus.
My top 3 takeaways:
- Director of Legislative Relations Chris Thompson updated the board on cannabis legislative topics which could emerge in the 2019 session (audio).
- Thompson anticipated advocates may propose bills on social use, availability of medically compliant products, excise tax exemption for patients, and pesticide testing of adult-use cannabis.
- Previous efforts by the Washington CannaBusiness Association (WACA) to enable out-of-state license ownership may be renewed.
- Cooperative/group purchasing may see another attempt. Thompson said the WSLCB has previously testified that there is an existing rule which prohibits group purchasing, but he was uncertain if there is a related constraint in statute.
- The home delivery of medical cannabis report requested by the legislature will propose four marketplace models. After receiving stakeholder feedback on the draft report, WSLCB may endorse one of the proposals. The report will suggest steps the agency would be comfortable with and document some medical cannabis reforms recommended by stakeholders which are beyond the scope of a delivery system.
- While the report is due to the legislature on December 1st, Thompson indicated its publication will likely be delayed to incorporate stakeholder feedback and review by the Governor’s Office.
- The Governor’s Office has questions about the agency’s proposed uniformity of enforcement bill and has asked for a description of WSLCB’s current cannabis enforcement authority.
- On Friday, November 16th, the WSLCB will brief the House Commerce & Gaming Committee on the “Status of the marijuana industry in Washington, including the implementation of the new marijuana traceability system.” The committee work session is at 1:30pm in the John L. O’Brien Building, House Hearing Room C and will be broadcast and recorded by TVW.
- Commerce and Gaming Committee membership is likely to undergo significant changes when the new House Caucus meets to assign committee roles in late November. During subsequent discussion about the impacts of the mid-term elections (audio), Thompson suggested the committee itself could be dismantled and its responsibilities reallocated.
- Newly hired Policy and Rules Coordinator Kathy Hoffman updated the board on current cannabis rulemaking (audio).
- 2017 and 2018 Cannabis Legislation Implementation goes into effect December 1st.
- The public hearing for Retail License Certificates was supposed to occur October 31st, but was not scheduled.
- Hoffman said a CR-101 for “Marijuana License Certification” was filed October 31st, which is a reference to the true parties of interest CR-101 (WAC 314-55-035).
- Hoffman: “Cannabis production rules are to be determined, I’ll follow up with that for you.”
- The public comment period for the Quality Assurance Testing and Product Requirements CR-101 ended October 24th. Staff are reviewing comments to prepare the proposed rules’ next step, composition of draft rules in a CR-102.
- The Cannabis Penalties CR-101 was filed with the Office of the Code Reviser on November 5th.
- The board met the agency’s new Policy Analyst and Tribal Liaison, Brett Cain (audio).
- Cain comes to the WSLCB from the Department of Health (DOH). Board Chair Jane Rushford stated all three recently hired Policy Analysts (Cain, Kathy Hoffman, and Janette Benham) have been recruited from the same division at the DOH.
- Board Member Russ Hauge said he will look to Cain for help restarting the WSLCB Tribal Advisory Council.