The three-member board of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) and agency leadership meet weekly as the Executive Management Team to facilitate coordination between the appointed Board and staff.
Agency leadership reviewed arguments for processors acting as distributors, learned about the most recent security issue with the state's traceability system, and heard about new dialogue between the Enforcement division and medical cannabis patient advocates.
Here are some observations from the Wednesday June 13th Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) Executive Management Team meeting.
My top 3 takeaways:
- The EMT convened a rich conversation on distribution in the regulated Washington state cannabis marketplace. WSLCB Marijuana Examiner Program Administrator Peter Corier and Policy and Rules Coordinator Joanna Eide led the discussion towards consensus on WSLCB’s position regarding to what extent a processor can act as a distributor.Conversants contrasted de facto existence vs. intentional policy and rulemaking to create a distribution tier (transcript, audio).
- WSLCB Deputy Director Peter Antolin briefed the board on the latest computer security incident impacting the state traceability system. In one of the first public statements about the incident, Deputy Director Antolin described an “issue” where “There’s data that have been inserted into Leaf from third-party integrators that are questionable” (transcript, audio).
- Separately—though related—Deputy Director Antolin has contacted MJ Freeway’s CEO to ask for confirmation that the company has the capacity to deliver quality code, fulfill contractual staffing obligations, and mitigate the overall situation. MJ Freeway has until June 30 to deliver the requested confirmation and schedule.
- Member Russ Hauge asked, “What’s our alternative if MJ Freeway can’t carry the weight?” prompting discussion about options. Deputy Director Antolin said any change in traceability vendor would likely necessitate a return to the contingency reporting system. Dauntless Software was mentioned as a potential alternative vendor. An RFP or emergency RFP vendor solicitation, vendor selection, and traceability re-implementation is expected to take up to 2 years to complete.
- Enforcement Chief Justin Nordhorn has opened dialogue with medical cannabis patient advocates. One conversation was prompted by a complaint about a retail cannabis product which tested positive for Eagle 20, a dangerous pesticide, leading to product seizure and on-going investigation of the processor. Chief Nordhorn mentioned a separate conversation with Steve Sarich, a frequent general commenter at Board Meetings. Patient advocates are considering legislation to establish regulated farmer’s markets to provide the patient community with higher dosage medical cannabis products (transcript, audio).
- WSLCB Director Rick Garza stated WSLCB and Department of Health (DOH) staff are actively meeting to review medical cannabis regulations to see what can be done to help the patient community within the authority of the regulating agencies.