WA House COG - Committee Meeting
(February 21, 2019) - Executive Sessions

On Thursday, the Washington State House Commerce and Gaming Committee (WA House COG) amended and moved HB 1237, HB 1466, and HB 1974 out of committee with “do pass” recommendations.

  • HB 1237“Reforming the compliance and enforcement provisions for marijuana licensees.”
    • This bill is the companion legislation to SB 5318.
    • Committee Counsel Peter Clodfelter briefed members on prospective changes (video @ 55:25).
    • Representative Steve Kirby proposed an amendment (H-1697.1) which had been previously scheduled for executive action at the committee’s February 19th public meeting. Kirby called the amendment and bill a “work in progress” to which he committed more effort to “make the most number of people happy.” The amendment was passed.
    • In discussion, Representative Brandon Vick told members “we’ve seen the reasons why” the bill was needed to help the WSLCB “get the house in order” while “not being, I guess, overly punitive.”
    • Substitute HB 1237, inclusive of the amendment, passed with a roll call vote. Representative Shelly Kloba voted against the bill (video @ 1:03:55).
  • HB 1466, “Banning marijuana billboards,” was discussed and passed without amendment.
    • The committee previously hosted a public hearing for HB 1466 on February 5th and had scheduled, but deferred, executive action on the bill four times.
    • Clodfelter briefed the committee (video @ 1:01:03) and a previously filed amendment (AMH COG CLOD 010) from Representative Melanie Morgan was withdrawn.
    • In discussion about the bill, Representative Bill Jenkin said his district had complaints about a prominent cannabis billboard leaving him with a “real problem” and predicted the minority caucus would be split on the bill. Vice Chair Kristine Reeves opposed the bill because it “limits freedom of speech.” Ranking Member Drew MacEwen said he wanted to see rulemaking already underway around cannabis advertising concluded and shared his concern about telling new retailers they couldn’t advertise in a way existing businesses had.
    • Chair Derek Stanford asked for a yes vote saying it was “good to keep these advertisements out of places where kids are likely to see them.”
    • The bill narrowly passed with Reeves, MacEwen, Assistant Ranking Member Kelly Chambers, Vick, and Morgan opposed (video @ 1:08:40).
  • HB 1974, “Establishing the Washington cannabis commission,” was amended and moved out of committee with a “do pass” recommendation.
    • Clodfelter explained a new amendment to the legislation (video @ 1:01:57).
    • The amendment (AMH COG RAYM 019), proposed by Chair Stanford, added two items to the original bill’s list of three "research and educational campaign goals directed at cannabis producers that serve the needs of cannabis producers."
      • (1) Advance knowledge and practice of the production of cannabis in this state through the research and testing of methods to improve pest management, worker protection and safety training, energy efficiency, and environmental protection;
      • (4) Limit youth access and youth exposure to cannabis;
    • The youth prevention language appeared to address a request made during the bill’s public hearing by Seth Dawson lobbying for the Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention (WASAVP). Stanford asked for the amendment’s adoption, and it was passed with a unanimous voice vote.
    • The Chair was also supportive of the overall bill, but Vick said he needed “more time to dive into this” and voiced two concerns:
      • “Commissions, in my opinion, tend to exist for marketing purposes and to grow the industry,” Vick said. He felt the bill’s restriction on marketing, while understandable, “…kind of begs the question of why we need the commission in general.”
      • Vick also claimed the “threshold” of 51% for imposing commission fees on producers was of concern.
    • The amended bill was passed by a roll call vote with Vick, MacEwen, and Jenkin opposed (video @ 1:13:19).