The Week Ahead
(April 6, 2020)

The WSLCB scheduled a Special Board Meeting for Monday afternoon to authorize and delegate summary license suspensions for enforcement of the Governor’s proclamations.

Here’s a look at cannabis-related policymaking events on Cannabis Observer’s calendars in the week ahead.

Monday April 6th

On Monday at 1pm PT, a Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) Special Board Meeting was scheduled to occur.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The last four regularly scheduled board meetings have been cancelled. The agency last convened a board meeting for formal rulemaking on Wednesday February 5th. The agency called an irregularly scheduled Special Board Meeting on Friday March 27th to conduct emergency rulemaking enabling retailers to defer excise tax payments and withdraw the CR-102 to pause the Quality Control (QC) Testing and Product Requirements rulemaking project.
  • On Monday, the Board planned to consider adoption of a new set of emergency rules which would establish the agency’s authority to “serve an order of summary suspension of any license under this Title 314 WAC” for violations of any “governor’s proclamation” after an investigation determined “that immediate cessation of the licensed activities is necessary for the protection or preservation of the public health, safety, or welfare.” The Board would then consider delegating that authority to the Chief of Enforcement, who would be empowered to delegate further within their command.
    • The agency’s action appeared to be a response to Governor Jay Inslee’s guidance to law enforcement announced on March 30th along with an online form for the public to report businesses suspected of violating the Governor’s proclamations.
  • While the agency explicitly excluded cannabis licensees from their descriptions of the targets of the emergency rulemaking in recognition of their current essential status, the actual emergency rule language makes no such distinction. Cannabis Observer’s interpretation of the rule language indicates that, once adopted, these emergency rules could be applied to any cannabis license type if there were a change in their essential designation.
  • While the industry currently depends upon the essential designation to continue operations under trying circumstances, Cannabis Observer has noticed other jurisdictions begin to rescind essential status for cannabis retail storefronts.
    • On April 3rd, Ontario removed cannabis retail storefronts from its list of essential workplaces while still permitting centralized state delivery.
    • And in early April, Santa Clara County in California’s Bay Area shuttered the recreational cannabis supply chain while still permitting medical access and recreational delivery.
  • Both of those jurisdictions had previously established law and rule permitting medical and adult use cannabis delivery services whereas Washington state had not. However, the WSLCB undertook emergency policymaking on March 17th to permit cannabis retail storefronts to offer curbside pickup as a social distancing measure, at first restricting that service to registered medical patients but opening up the service to all customers one week later.
  • At publication time, Cannabis Observer had no tangible evidence that the essential service designation for the cannabis supply chain in Washington state was being reconsidered.

Tuesday April 7th

On Tuesday at 10am PT, the WSLCB Board Caucus was scheduled to recur.

Wednesday April 8th

On Wednesday at 9:00am PT, the Washington State Board of Health (SBOH) Board Meeting was scheduled to occur.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The SBOH last convened on March 11th primarily online but also with a prearranged physical location in Olympia to accept public testimony. The April 8th meeting will be conducted exclusively online using the GoToMeeting platform. The SBOH meeting website notes: “Board members, presenters, and staff will all participate remotely. The public may observe and listen to the meeting online. Individuals may submit verbal comments during the specified public comment and rules hearing segments.”
  • The Board planned to hear an update on the filing of a CR-101 to open permanent rulemaking on the prohibition of vitamin E acetate in vapor products.

On Wednesday at 1:30pm PT, the three-member Board and agency leadership were scheduled to convene their weekly WSLCB Executive Management Team (EMT) meeting.

Thursday April 9th

On Thursday, the bi-weekly WSLCB Marijuana Traceability Project (MTP) Integrator Work Session was cancelled.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • After requesting agenda items on Friday March 23rd for an upcoming meeting, WSLCB Systems Administrator Sydney Jensen followed up to announce: “Update, per [WSLCB CIO] Mary [Mueller] the next two integrator meetings will be cancelled. Therefore, the next scheduled meeting will be on 4/23/2020.”