The Week Ahead
(September 16, 2019)

DOH hosts a public hearing on compassionate care renewals and the WSLCB Traceability Advisory Committee will consider how to exit from MJ Freeway.

Here’s a look at the week ahead.

TUESDAY: At publication time, the Tuesday September 17th weekly Board Caucus was listed as recurring. However, during the previous week’s Caucus, the Board agreed they would likely not achieve quorum on Tuesday (audio – 2m). [gf: The Board was able to achieve quorum on Tuesday and planned to go ahead with their weekly meeting; agenda here.]

On Tuesday September 17th at 10:30am @ the Department of Health (DOH), the agency planned to host a public hearing on proposed rule changes to implement HB 1094, “Establishing compassionate care renewals for medical marijuana qualifying patients.” This will be the first public meeting of the DOH which Cannabis Observer attends and documents.

We’ve added a Google Calendar to track Washington State Department of Health cannabis-related activity on Cannabis Observer’s DOH landing screen [ direct link, iCal ]. We expect to see increased cannabis-related rulemaking activity at the DOH in the coming months and next year.

WEDNESDAY: On Wednesday September 18th at 10am PT @ WSLCB, the bi-weekly Board Meeting recurs.

On Wednesday September 18th at 1:30pm PT @ WSLCB, the three-member Board and agency leadership convene their weekly Executive Management Team (EMT) meeting.

THURSDAY: On Thursday September 19th at 10am PT @ WSLCB, the bi-weekly Marijuana Traceability Project (MTP) Integrator Work Session recurs. This is not a formal public meeting, but is open to interested parties.

On Thursday September 19th at 1:30pm PT @ WSLCB, the rescheduled Marijuana Traceability Project (MTP) Advisory Committee meeting recurs, still convening every month given recent activity. This is not a formal public meeting, but has tended to be open to the public.

We expect this month’s Traceability Advisory Committee meeting will be interesting. The State’s seed-to-sale vendor, MJ Freeway, was disinvited from these conversations with industry representatives following the July release of Leaf Data Systems which resulted in an extended industry-wide outage and necessitated the Board permit unapproved workarounds to keep the marketplace flowing. The industry has enjoyed comparative calm in the wake of release 1.37.5 in no small part because the WSLCB stipulated their vendor “shall limit its efforts to performing additional stabilization of the System“ as a condition of its latest two month extension to the MJ Freeway contract. That contract expires (again) at the end of September and I will be advocating for a continuation of the same “hands-off” policy while the State maps out and implements an alternative path to contemporary traceability.

While it seems that all parties—perhaps even the vendor—would prefer not to continue the contract, there is no readymade replacement for the highly customized, Washington-specific seed-to-sale system which the I-502 marketplace continues to be reliant upon. It’s our understanding that since the last release, WSLCB has conducted a series of internal meetings to fundamentally reassess the purpose of traceability and define new boundaries on the agency’s informational needs to meet its regulatory requirements. We expect to hear outcomes from that process and learn about next steps, which will likely include formation of a new external work group to incorporate stakeholder perspectives into a long-term plan to exit from MJ Freeway and take a different approach to cannabis supply chain oversight.