The Week Ahead
(June 22, 2020)

The WSLCB was set to propose new Voluntary Compliance Program rules, revisions to True Party of Interest rules, and solicit feedback on marijuana Producer rules.

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

Tuesday June 23rd

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

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The Board cancelled last week’s caucus after meeting virtually on Tuesday June 9th. At publication time, the last time the Board physically met in-person was Tuesday March 10th.
  • The board caucus will be hosted virtually In keeping with constraints on public meetings mandated by the Governor, which were again extended on Thursday June 17th through July 1st following approval by leadership in the Washington State Legislature.
    • The WSLCB interim authority “to waive the penalties for failure to timely remit tax payments” by alcohol licensees was also extended through July 1st, a privilege extended to all of the WSLCB’s licensees in addition to other allowances granted to cannabis licensees.
    • These allowances won’t be continued indefinitely without legislative changes and/or more permanent rulemaking. On the WSLCB’s COVID-19 screen, the agency noted, “The expiration for each allowance will be set by the LCB when the county where the LCB-licensed business is located enters Phase 4. The allowance will expire within 30 days following the county’s entrance into Phase 4. Once available, the LCB will notify on its website the exact date of county expirations.“
    • At publication time, no Washington state counties had applied for or been granted approval to shift into Phase 4. 15 counties had achieved Phase 3 designation.

On Tuesday at 1:00pm PT, the WSLCB Listen and Learn Forum for the Incremental Expansion of Tier 1 Canopy rulemaking project was scheduled to convene remotely.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The WSLCB planned to host two Listen and Learn forums “about the current rules regarding marijuana producer licenses, specifically the consideration of revisions and new rule sections that would incrementally expand the plant canopy square footage allowed for licensed Tier 1 producers.” Both sessions will focus on the producer rules in  WAC 314-55-075 with the first session covering sections 1 through 5 and the second session on June 30th covering sections 6 through 11.
  • In the event announcement sent on June 11th, the agency provided additional context on the intended scope of the rulemaking project:
    • The Board has received requests from medical marijuana patients and segments of the industry to increase the availability of Department of Health (DOH) compliant product in licensed retail stores. The Board has also learned that smaller producers are concerned about business sustainability based on canopy space restrictions. Recognizing this, the Board would like to explore the ways that it can support Tier 1 producer business viability. Revisions considered may also include clarifying and technical updates to existing rule within the scope of this topic.
  • The memorandum released when the CR-101 was filed in December 2019 anticipated additional operating costs could be incurred as a result of the Quality Control (QC) Testing and Product Requirements rulemaking project:
    • Additionally, it is possible that the ability for licensed Tier 1 producers to incrementally increase canopy may offset potential business expenses associated with the proposal that would amend and create new sections of rule regarding quality control testing. Increasing growing capacity for these producers may provide an opportunity to generate revenue that could support quality control compliance.
    • At publication time, the public hearing for the QC Testing rulemaking project was scheduled for July 8th.

Wednesday June 24th

On Wednesday at 10am PT, the bi-weekly WSLCB Board Meeting was scheduled to recur.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The agency convened its last board meeting for formal rulemaking on Wednesday May 27th.
  • During caucus on Tuesday June 9th, Policy and Rules Manager Kathy Hoffman projected her team would be ready to file proposed rules as part of CR-102 packages for both the True Party of Interest (TPI) and Voluntary Compliance Program (VCP) rulemaking projects at the Wednesday June 24th board meeting.

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

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The last 19 regularly scheduled EMT meetings have been cancelled. The Board projected cancellation of its EMT meetings through the end of June. The EMT last convened on Wednesday February 12th.
  • EMT meetings are 40% of all regularly scheduled WSLCB public meetings by quantity and the only context in which agency staff consistently interact with all three appointed WSLCB board members to communicate and coordinate the agency’s activities.