The Week Ahead
(June 8, 2020)

WSLCB cancelled most of its public meetings while the State Board of Health prepared to extend its vitamin E acetate prohibition and convene the Marijuana Social Equity Task Force.

Here’s a look at cannabis-related policymaking events on Cannabis Observer’s calendars in the week ahead.

Tuesday June 9th

On Tuesday at 9am PT, the quarterly Washington State Office of the Chief Information Officer (WA OCIO) Technology Services Board (TSB) was scheduled to convene.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The Washington State Office of the Chief Information Officer (WA OCIO) Technology Services Board (TSB) focuses primarily on information technology (IT) strategic vision and planning; enterprise architecture; policy and standards; and major project oversight. Members include legislators, business leaders, agency directors, and a union representative.
  • On Tuesday June 4th, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) announced that technology integration vendor Slalom had been chosen as the contracted partner for their Systems Modernization Project (SMP) “to implement a new application to replace WSLCB’s aging, legacy licensing and enforcement technology systems, as well as updating the agency’s business processes and operations.” The SMP was initiated in 2014 and at publication time was budgeted $18.8M. Learn more at the WA OCIO’s Project Dashboard.
  • At publication time, no agenda was available for the meeting to confirm whether WSLCB’s SMP would be addressed as part of WA OCIO’s oversight of the technology project.

On Tuesday at 11:30am PT, the weekly Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) Board Caucus was scheduled to recur.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • Last week’s regularly scheduled Board Caucus was cancelled. The Board last convened in caucus on Tuesday May 26th. At publication time, the last time the Board physically met in-person was Tuesday March 10th.
  • The Board revised its start time from 10am to 11:30am for this and all subsequent caucus meetings in June. The change was urged by Board Chair Jane Rushford to deconflict her attendance at WSLCB’s Management Team meetings which have been occurring daily at 9am since March. Rushford is the Board designee to attend the meetings at 10am when the Management Team shifts from consideration of internal operations to external matters.

Wednesday June 10th

On Wednesday at 9:30am PT, the monthly Washington State Board of Health (SBOH) Board Meeting was scheduled to recur.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The SBOH will be asked to approve a third consecutive emergency rule extending the prohibition on use of vitamin E acetate in vapor products.
    • The current CR-103E was filed on March 19th and expires on July 17th.
    • Secretary of Health John Wiesman, a member of the Board, shared a memorandum and history of the Board’s emergency rulemaking in response to the vapor associated lung injury (VALI) health scare. He noted the failure of SB 6254 at the Legislature and the extended timeline for formal rulemaking on the subject initiated by the Board at their March meeting.
    • If approved, the emergency rule would be scheduled to go into effect on July 18th for 90 days.
  • The SBOH has begun preparations for staffing and convening the Marijuana Social Equity Task Force.
    • As the SBOH is responsible for staffing and helping convene the Governor’s Interagency Council on Health Disparities, helping get the Marijuana Social Equity Task Force started has also fallen to the small agency.
    • It’s Cannabis Observer’s understanding that Council staff were assigned by the Governor to assist with the State’s COVID-19 response but have begun transitioning back to agency responsibilities. The Task Force will not convene prior to July 1st.
    • Logistical coordination aside, it’s also Cannabis Observer’s understanding that the President of the Senate, Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Laurie Jinkins, have not appointed very many members to serve on the 17-seat Task Force.
      • Senator Rebecca Saldaña, Deputy Majority Leader and the legislator credited for getting HB 2870 over the finish line, was appointed to represent the Senate Democratic caucus.
      • Representative Kelly Chambers, Assistant Minority Whip and Assistant Ranking Member on the House Commerce and Gaming Committee during the 2020 session, was appointed to represent the House Republicans.
      • It’s Cannabis Observer’s understanding that one of four industry representatives may be assigned, but we have not been able to confirm whom.
      • And WSLCB Board Member Ollie Garrett’s appointment remains uncertain.
    • The timing could not be better for the State of Washington to host conversations about social equity in the cannabis industry to address the disproportionate harms of the so-called War on Drugs in communities of color. The SBOH and Council have experience convening diverse communities and the Department of Health declared “Racism is a public health threat.” We’ll continue to keep readers apprised as the Task Force develops.

The bi-weekly WSLCB Board Meeting was cancelled.

The weekly WSLCB Executive Management Team (EMT) meeting was cancelled.