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.
The board discussed on-site sales and tastings for smaller producers, denied a petition on retail medical endorsements, and looked to a "Cannabis 2.0" future.
Here are some observations from the November 27th WSLCB Board Caucus.
My top 3 takeaways:
- Board Member Russ Hauge discussed a recent meeting with Bailey Hirschburg of Washington NORML and Chris Thompson, WSLCB Director of Legislative Relations, regarding on-site sales and tastings (audio, meeting handout).
- The board discussed enabling smaller producers to implement partial vertical integration modeled on craft breweries, distilleries, and wineries.
- Hauge believes the conversation was reasonable and that folding in on-site consumption privileges would give smaller businesses a boost. Board Member Ollie Garrett concurred.
- Hauge reiterated his interest in identifying friendly legislators to help with initiatives like this.
- Karen McCall, Policy and Rules Coordinator, presented the Board with a petition for rulemaking from John Kingsbury requesting the Washington Administrative Code for medical marijuana endorsements (WAC 314-55-08) more clearly implement the corresponding statute (audio).
- In his petition, Kingsbury explained that “stores are not routinely stocking DOH Compliant marijuana products as required by RCW 69.50.375 (3)(b)” and claimed a lack of enforcement creates no pressure for retailers to stock DOH compliant product.
- McCall: “…[the WAC] states that in order to maintain a medical marijuana endorsement, a marijuana retailer must maintain at all times a representative assortment of marijuana products necessary to meet the needs of qualified patients and designated providers.”
- Board Member Russ Hauge pointed out that the problem is not the rule but rather the lack of supply of medically compliant product.
- The petition for rulemaking was denied.
- Board Chair Jane Rushford introduced a concept she is calling “Cannabis 2.0” to encourage the board to focus on ways to be more proactive in their cannabis rulemaking as the legal status of cannabis rapidly shifts across the globe (audio).
- Member Hauge agreed this would enable the board to address issues such as corporate identity of financiers and on-site sales and tastings.
- The board expressed their anticipation of changes in the legal status of cannabis at the federal level. Chair Rushford: “When this goes national, what does that look like and where are we?”