WA Legislature - Executive Sessions
(February 14, 2019) - Summary

Several cannabis bills found love on Valentine’s Day as committees passed or amended them, while less fortunate legislation received no action.

Here are some observations of executive sessions for cannabis bills across several Washington State Legislature (WA Legislature) committees on February 14, 2019.

My top 4 takeaways:

The Washington State House Commerce and Gaming Committee (WA House COG) moved Substitute House Bill 1794 out of committee with a “do pass” recommendation, but did not take action on HB 1236 or HB 1466.

  • HB 1794 – “Concerning agreements between licensed marijuana businesses and other people and businesses, including royalty and licensing agreements relating to the use of intellectual property” (video @ 51:10).
    • The committee had previously hosted a public hearing for HB 1794 on February 7th.
    • During the scheduled executive session, the committee adopted an amendment brought by the bill’s sponsor, Chair Derek Stanford, to “take care of some concerns of the LCB” with the approval of “the proponents of the bill.”
      • Agreements between licensees and other parties must still be disclosed to WSLCB.
      • Royalty fees for other parties may not exceed 10% of “gross sales derived from the sale of each product that includes the intellectual property or was manufactured using the licensed intellectual property or service.”
      • A non-licensed party in an authorized agreement doesn’t have to qualify for the requirements of a cannabis license.
  • HB 1236 “Concerning the ability of business and nonprofit entities to obtain a marijuana license.”
  • HB 1466 “Banning marijuana billboards.”
    • The committee had previously hosted a public hearing for HB 1466 on February 5th and had not addressed the bill during two subsequently scheduled executive sessions.
    • Once again, the bill was scheduled for executive session but no action was taken.

The Washington State House Public Safety Committee (WA House PS) moved Substitute House Bill 1500 out of committee with a “do pass” recommendation including one amendment.

  • HB 1500 - "Concerning misdemeanor marijuana offense convictions" (video @ 18:20).
  • The committee previously hosted a public hearing for HB 1500 on February 5th.
  • In executive session, a substitute version of the bill was proposed by Representative Sherry Appleton. The substitute made the following changes according to an included summary:
    • Specifies that the underlying bill applies to misdemeanor marijuana possession offenses charged under predecessor statutes from prior to 2004 as well as equivalent municipal ordinances.
    • Prohibits the court from imposing fees or costs for applications to vacate misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions.
    • Requires the Administrative Office of the Courts to develop a single master pattern form for applications to vacate misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions by January 1, 2020.
    • Requires county and city prosecutors to file motions by January 1, 2020, to vacate misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions (where defendants were age 21 or older at the time of the offense) occurring from January 1, 1998, through December 5, 2012. Allows motions to be filed ex parte and to include multiple defendants. Requires the court to vacate convictions upon a
      motion from a prosecuting attorney. Specifies that the mandated process initiated by prosecutors does not preclude a person from filing an independent application to vacate a conviction under the separate process provided in the underlying bill.
    • Reorganizes subsections in current law and the underlying bill.
  • After adoption, the substitute bill was amended with a change proposed by Representative Dan Griffey, which “Removes from the proposed substitute the provision restricting courts from imposing fees or costs for applications to vacate misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions.” Griffey had concerns about unfunded requirements for courts (video @ 37:24).

The Washington State Senate Law and Justice Committee (WA Senate LAW) rejected an effort to amend SB 5605 before passing it to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

  • SB 5605 - "Concerning misdemeanor marijuana offense convictions" (video @ 2:45).
  • The committee previously hosted a public hearing for SB 5605 on February 12th.
  • An amendment was offered by Senator Mike Padden that “Requires that applications for vacation of a person’s record under this act must be submitted within one year of the effective date if the conviction occurred before the date, or within a year of conviction if it occurred after the effective date. Limits such vacations if the applicant has previously received two vacations for such a conviction.” Senator Jeff Holy spoke in favor of the amendment, but it was not adopted following objections raised by Chair Jamie Pedersen (video @ 9:01).
  • SB 5605 was the companion bill to HB 1500. After the adoption of Substitute HB 1500, the language of the two bills diverged.

The Washington State Senate Labor and Commerce Committee (WA Senate LBRC) did not take action on SB 5318.