The Week Ahead
(September 23, 2019)

This week: a new WSLCB Traceability 2.0 work group, the Cannabis Penalties listen and learn forum, and Ecology’s Cannabis Science Task Force Steering Committee convenes.

Here’s a look at the week ahead.

But first a reminder that Cannabis Observer summaries will become a subscription product starting on Tuesday October 1st. We continue to bring increased transparency to cannabis policymaking in Washington state, and our “Week Ahead” posts on Monday mornings will remain freely accessible to promote stakeholder engagement in the governing processes which affect their lives.

TODAY: On Monday September 23rd at 2pm PT @ WSLCB, the Traceability Integrator Data Sharing Agreement external work group convenes for the second of four planned meetings. This small stakeholder work group is vetting a proposed legal agreement between the WSLCB and third-party software providers who handle traceability data. As the State does not license third-party software providers, yet those software providers in some cases modify data owned by the State, the WSLCB has decided a legal agreement is necessary to define expectations and remedies. Here is the latest draft. On Monday, the group picks up where it left off at Section 12 reviewing required insurance coverage integrators must carry.

I was asked to help that work group and while I am a close reader, I am not a lawyer. I happen to know there are quite a few lawyers who subscribe to Cannabis Observer. If the subject matter addressed by this work group interests you or your cannabis technology law colleagues, I’d like to hear from you.

TUESDAY: On Tuesday September 24th at 10am PT @ WSLCB, the weekly Board Caucus recurs. Last week’s Board Caucus was hosted as usual, contrary to earlier signs the Board intended to cancel the meeting.

On Tuesday September 24th at 10am PT @ WSLCB, what I’ll provisionally call the Traceability 2.0 external work group convenes for the first time. I’ve been invited to help this work group, and am honored to have the opportunity to participate.

At the Traceability Advisory Committee’s August meeting, the WSLCB signaled a willingness to consider new approaches to regulating Washington state’s cannabis supply chain. Regulators questioned if the sparsely attended advisory committee was the right venue to solicit a broad range of industry feedback on potential new approaches, and indicated a dedicated work group with different membership might be preferable.

This past Thursday September 19th, the Traceability Advisory Committee met again. Deputy Director Megan Duffy presented and led a discussion about the “Future of the Advisory Committee” (audio – 27m). She reported that her efforts to convene an internal work group to reassess and redefine the WSLCB’s supply chain oversight and data needs had been successful, and the agency was prepared to convene an external work group to share agency progress, gather industry perspectives, and synthesize desired outcomes.

An agency email to the Traceability 2.0 work group members stated:

“The Board has initiated an effort called Cannabis 2.0, which is a purposeful look back on where the LCB has been with regard to the implementation of 502 and where we want to be in 3-5 years.  A part of that landscape assessment is traceability — how have we been approaching it; what has worked and hasn’t worked; and what kind of approach we might want to use in the future. I am scheduling the first meeting that will focus on the future component of traceability — how should we be approaching traceability?  Agency staff has had some internal discussions on possible characteristics and elements of a different approach, and are interested in hearing your perspectives and ideas on what traceability could look like. We recognize this will take more than one discussion and hope that you would be willing to participate along the way.”

WEDNESDAY: On Wednesday September 25th at 1:30pm PT @ WSLCB, the three-member Board and agency leadership convene their weekly Executive Management Team (EMT) meeting. Last week’s EMT was canceled.

THURSDAY: On Thursday September 26th at 1pm PT @ WSLCB, the agency hosts the first Cannabis Penalties rulemaking project listen and learn forum (agenda, draft conceptual rules, redline version). Policy and Rules Coordinator Kathy Hoffman’s last update on the Cannabis Penalties rulemaking project was at the September 18th Board Meeting. Originally opened in October 2018 to enhance traceability penalties, the rulemaking project was repurposed during the 2019 legislative session to address particular industry concerns about WSLCB enforcement practices expressed in SB 5318. An external work group has frequently convened since the spring, but the composition of the group and their negotiations have been for the most part privately held.

Preceding the agency’s publication of a CR-102 containing formal draft rules and a subsequent public hearing, the novel listen and learn forum format introduced at WSLCB by Hoffman is in some ways a better organized public hearing. If you have feedback to provide, including comments emailed to Hoffman that she tends to read at these forums, this is a good opportunity to ensure your voice is heard by agency rulemaking staff earlier in the process.

FRIDAY: On Friday September 27th at 9am @ the Department of Ecology (DOE), the Cannabis Science Task Force (CSTF) Steering Committee convenes for its second public meeting. The CSTF’s first public meeting was on August 21st.

After reviewing a new charter drafted by DOE, Steering Committee members will hear reports from the task force’s two initial work groups: the Analytical Workgroup followed by the Proficiency Testing Workgroup. The agenda for the meeting then allocates a 30 minute “Public Feedback Session” starting at 11:30am. Visitors are asked to arrive in the lobby of Ecology headquarters before the 9am meeting start time to be escorted to the meeting room.