The Week Ahead
(April 15, 2019)

Expect a public hearing for Mandatory Marijuana Signage at Wednesday’s WSLCB Board Meeting and significant legislative floor activity the first three days of the week.

Here’s a look at the week ahead.

WEDNESDAY is the 94th day of the first and longer session of the 2019-2020 biennium. At 5pm PT on Wednesday, we’ll pass the penultimate cutoff deadline on the last day to consider opposite house bills. Cannabis Observer expects to witness significant legislative floor activity over the next three days.

The Washington State Legislative Building
Image by James_Seattle (CC BY 2.0)

After last Wednesday’s committee report cutoff, legislators turned their attention to selection of bills by the chamber rule committees and completion of the second cycle of consideration and amendment of legislation through chamber floor activity. Calendared bills are granted their “second reading” before the full House or Senate as reported out of their respective policy and fiscal committees, and may be further amended at that time. Bills are typically returned to the rule committees for an additional scheduling check, and may be granted a “third reading” and final vote by all chamber members. If passed, the bills are returned to their house of origin for concurrence, dispute, or conference.

As deadlines approach, legislators have begun to convene on weekends. This past Saturday April 13th, the Senate passed all four cannabis-related House bills which had been calendared for floor activity. Senators called up the bills for their second reading, suspended their rules to bypass the rules committee step and jump to third reading, and passed each of the bills in turn. On initial examination, it does not appear any of these four bills were further amended. These are the first cannabis-related bills to pass both chambers this session.

  • Administering Cannabis to Student-Patients (HB 1095)
  • System Modernization Project (SMP) Account (HB 1430)
  • Licensing Agreements (HB 1794)
  • Testing Lab Accreditation (HB 2052)

Three cannabis-related bills remain in the Senate Rules Committee, yet to be calendared for floor activity.

  • Compassionate Renewals for Patients (HB 1094)
  • Patient Database Funding (HB 1415)
  • Budtender Penalties (HB 1792)

In the House, all four of the cannabis-related bills originating in the Senate have been calendared for floor activity, but none have received their second reading yet.

Cannabis Observer expects to see activity on all of the bills in the House, but it remains to be seen if the three bills in Senate Rules will be moved.

TUESDAY: On Tuesday at 10am PT @ WSLCB, the weekly Board Caucus recurs and Cannabis Observer will be there. Policy and Rules Coordinator Kathy Hoffman will likely visit with the Board to prepare them for Wednesday’s Board Meeting.

WEDNESDAY: On Wednesday at 10am PT @ WSLCB, the generally bi-weekly Board Meeting recurs and Cannabis Observer will be there. Board Meetings are typically livestreamed and recorded via webinar as well as the agency’s Periscope account. If you’d like to be added to the email notification list for Board Meeting agendas and handouts, contact Board Executive Assistant Dustin Dickson.

The Board Meeting should include a public hearing for the Mandatory Marijuana Signage rulemaking project (CR-102, draft rules, issue paper). The Board approved filing the CR-102 at the March 6th Board Meeting after a more extensive briefing at the Board Caucus the previous day. There’s nothing particularly unusual about this rulemaking, unless you consider it unusual that warnings about usage of cannabis during pregnancy and breastfeeding are no longer required on consumer product packaging, yet this rulemaking adds a new mandatory sign on licensed premises specifically targeting employees and budtenders. The language on the sign would no longer be described in rule and left to the discretion of WSLCB in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH). This Wednesday also marks the close of the written comment period, and the only comment received as of April 2nd was critical of the research cited in the rulemaking issue paper, research which the agencies presumably rely on to inform their perspective on the use of cannabis during pregnancy and breastfeeding.