The Week Ahead
(February 17, 2020)

11 cannabis-related bills remain active approaching Wednesday’s house of origin cutoff, and the City of Seattle hosts a forum on “Cannabis Equity in Our Community” on Saturday.

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

Monday February 17th

On Monday at 1pm PT, the Washington State Senate Rules Committee (WA Senate RULE) was scheduled to convene.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • Last Tuesday February 11th, the Washington State Legislature achieved its House of Origin Fiscal Committee Cutoff, the “[l]ast day to read in committee reports (pass bills out of committee and read them into the record on the floor) from House fiscal committees and Senate Ways & Means and Transportation committees in house of origin.According to the Legislative Information Center (LIC), 11 cannabis-related bills made it through this intentional process bottleneck.
    • HB 1626 - “Making the authority of the liquor and cannabis board to enforce state laws concerning liquor, marijuana, tobacco, and vapor products more uniform.” Recommended by the House Public Safety Committee last session, this bill was technically still active but had not been moved this session. At publication time, this bill sat in the Washington State House Rules Committee (WA House RUL).
    • HB 1974 - “Establishing the Washington cannabis commission.” Recommended out of the WA House COG last session, this bill was heard by the Washington State House Appropriations Committee (WA House APP) on Saturday February 8th. On Tuesday February 11th, an executive session for this bill was added to the WA House APP schedule late in the afternoon, a second substitute was adopted, and the bill was recommended out of committee just before cutoff. At publication time, this bill had been assigned to the House floor calendar for its second reading.
    • HB 2359 / SB 6206 - “Creating a certificate of compliance for marijuana business premises that meet the statutory qualifications at the time of application.” The only pair of companion bills to make it through their respective policy committees, the “location compliance” bills had both made it to their chamber floor calendars for their second reading at publication time.
    • HB 2375 - “Concerning tableting and encapsulating machines and controlled substance imitation materials.” At publication time, this bill had been assigned to the House floor calendar for its second reading.
    • HB 2826 - “Clarifying the authority of the liquor and cannabis board to regulate marijuana vapor products.” At publication time, this bill had been assigned to the House floor calendar for its second reading.
    • HB 2870 - “Allowing additional marijuana retail licenses for social equity purposes.” The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) agency request legislation to establish a social equity program continues to evolve rapidly. After its policy committee public hearing on Monday February 3rd, the bill was rewritten and recommended on Thursday February 6th. WA House APP heard the substitute bill on Monday February 10th, then adopted and passed a second rewritten substitute bill on Tuesday February 11th. On Friday February 14th, the House voted to move a package of bills onto the floor calendar including HB 2870. And most recently, the House convened late into the night on Sunday February 16th, adopted a striking amendment which again completely rewrote the bill, and passed the measure out of the House (55 yeas, 41 nays, 0 absent, 2 excused). At publication time, HB 2870 had been advanced farther than any other cannabis-related bill.
    • SB 5867 - “Resentencing of persons convicted of drug offenses.” Introduced last session, but heard, revised, and recommended this session; at publication time, this bill sat in WA Senate RULE.
    • SB 6033 - “Concerning the safety and security of retail marijuana outlets.”  Following recommendation from the Washington Senate Labor and Commerce Committee (WA Senate LBRC), at publication time this bill sat in WA Senate RULE.
    • SB 6057 - “Concerning price differentials in the sale of marijuana.” The “wholesale discounts” bill was ushered through WA Senate LBRC without revision and, at publication time, sat in WA Senate RULE.
    • SB 6489 - “Concerning possession of vapor, vapor products, tobacco, and tobacco products by persons under the age of twenty-one.” This technical cleanup bill to implement last session’s Tobacco 21 legislation also repeals the authority of the WSLCB to detain persons under 21 or seize tobacco and vapor products in their possession. At publication time, it sat in WA Senate RULE.
  • After consideration by their policy and fiscal committees, all bills are referred back to the powerful rules committees in each chamber. These committees, whose membership is typically drawn from party leadership, exercise a system of “pulls” to order bills for consideration by their respective chambers and potential floor activity. They also have the power to let bills remain queued indefinitely within committee.
  • The next intentional process bottleneck is the House of Origin Cutoff on Wednesday February 19th, the last day for bills to be passed out of their respective source chambers. At publication time, four out of five cannabis-related bills still active in the Senate---all except the “location compliance” bill---were assigned to WA Senate RULE and awaiting pulls to the Senate floor calendar. We expect to see activity on those bills today.

Tuesday February 18th

On Tuesday, the weekly Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) Board Caucus has been canceled.

  • All three WSLCB public meetings normally scheduled for this week have been canceled. In the week prior, Cannabis Observer heard no mention of plans to cancel any WSLCB public meetings.

Wednesday February 19th

On Wednesday, the bi-weekly WSLCB Board Meeting has been canceled.

On Wednesday, the weekly WSLCB Executive Management Team (EMT) meeting has been canceled.

Wednesday at 5pm PT is the Washington State Legislature House of Origin Cutoff.

  • The 2020 session cutoff calendar describes this checkpoint as the “[l]ast day to consider (pass) bills in house of origin (5 p.m.).
  • At publication time, ten of the eleven remaining cannabis-related bills had yet to be considered and/or passed by their respective chambers.

Thursday February 20th

On Thursday at 9am PT, the Department of Ecology (DOE) Cannabis Science Task Force (CSTF) Steering Committee was scheduled to convene.

Friday February 21st

On Friday at 9am PT, the Thurston County Superior Court was scheduled to make an assignment for trial setting for the Vapor Technology Association lawsuit against the Washington State Board of Health (SBOH).

  • The lawsuit challenging the State for its actions in response to the vapor associated lung injuries health scare has methodically proceeded. The SBOH received an update on the case from Assistant Attorney General Lilia Lopez on January 8th.
  • The SBOH allowed the flavored vapor products ban to expire on February 8th, leading WSLCB to revise and extend their own dependent emergency rules through the end of the legislative session. SB 6254, the Governor’s follow up request legislation intended to more permanently institute aspects of the ban, was not heard by the Senate Ways and Means Committee prior to the Legislature’s house of origin fiscal committee cutoff. Last week, WSLCB Director of Legislative Relations Chris Thompson indicated the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) had been in communication to request the amendment of SB 6254’s provisions onto the WSLCB’s marijuana vapor products bill, HB 2826.
  • Given changed circumstances, the lawsuit petitioners filed a motion for dismissal on February 12th.

On Friday at 12pm PT, the Cannabis Observer Legislative Meetup was scheduled to recur.

Saturday February 22nd

On Saturday at 10am PT, the City of Seattle hosts the Cannabis Equity in Our Community Forum.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The City of Seattle Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) organized the forum “to share preliminary information from a review of the disparate racial impacts of the criminalization and legalization of cannabis. This is an opportunity to hear from the community about their experiences with the legal cannabis landscape.
  • Panelists include WSLCB Board Member Ollie Garrett, City of Seattle Marijuana Program Coordinator Cherie MacLeod, and Washington State Commission on African American Affairs (CAAA) Commissioner Paula Sardinas - one of the primary voices leading the rapid revisioning of HB 2870, the WSLCB’s social equity program bill.