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 Director of Legislative Relations requested Board approval for five agency request bills to be put forward in next year's legislative session.
Here are some observations from the Tuesday September 11th Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) Board Caucus.
My top 3 takeaways:
- Chris Thompson, WSLCB Director of Legislative Affairs, requested Board approval to move forward on the agency’s five legislative requests for the 2019 session, including a bill to expand the agency’s authority to define and implement mandatory budtender training (transcript, audio).
- Board Member Russ Hauge described how the training service would be delivered: “[My] understanding is that the MAST certification program is something you do online… [This] licensure would be something similar to that. It would be something that would be available, online course, minimal charge, something you can do, on your own, self-paced learning kind of thing.”
- Thompson mentioned the bill’s likely sponsor: “Representative Kloba is very interested in prime sponsoring this bill.”
- The Board expressed concerns about overlap with the Department of Health’s medical cannabis consultant certification program; Board Chair Jane Rushford: “Well, then the medical consulting, you have to go through a significant…curriculum. And they are approved, I think there are four of them, that are approved by Department of Health, or that are authorized by Department of Health… Now, we’re going to have a permit that potentially erodes the medical consultant. I don’t, I want to be careful that we’re not doing that here.”
- The WSLCB’s “Enforcement Uniformity” bill would expand the agency’s enforcement authority (transcript, audio).
- Thompson explained the bill’s intent: “So, it, it would improve their authority for responding in situations where there’s an assault on an officer or resistance to an officer, but primarily… it would give our officers more authority to conduct particularly financial investigations, to look at questions of fraud, questions of organized crime or money laundering, that type of activity where we don’t have a clear, strong authority to, to do investigations of those areas. So that would be cannabis, tobacco, and vapor where that would have some notable impact on our authority to conduct enforcement activities or investigations.”
- Board Member Ollie Garrett anticipated concerns from the cannabis industry that expansion of Enforcement authority does not address consistency of enforcement.
- Hauge expressed concern that the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs may oppose expansion of the agency’s enforcement powers.
- The Marijuana Testing Lab accreditation bill includes a fee increase on all cannabis licensees, albeit temporary (transcript, audio).
- Thompson outlined how much would be raised, how it would be distributed, and the timeline for new rules. “The numbers are our assumption now is at a fee of hundred and nine dollars on all licensees temporary for the next biennium would finance launch of the program that would generate $663,000 over the two years, almost two years… We would not expend those funds, that would be to Department of Ecology (DOE) to develop their standards for lab accreditation and get ready to launch with rulemaking as of July 1, 2021.”