The Week Ahead
(June 29, 2020)

Compressed cannabis policymaking at WSLCB due to mandatory cost-saving furloughs and a holiday shouldn’t prevent stakeholders from suggesting changes to producer rules on Tuesday.

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

Monday June 29th

On Monday, the staff of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) will be obligated to take their first agency-wide furlough day in accordance with a directive signed by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee on June 17th addressed to all “Washington State Executive and Small-Cabinet Agencies.”

  • As a cost-saving measure to help mitigate the “multi-billion dollar shortfall for the remainder of this and next biennia,” the Governor ordered furloughs “of one day a week as soon as possible, but no later than June 28, 2020, through July 25, 2020, in positions where a relief employee is not required.” Subsequently, furloughs of one day per month were ordered through November and voluntary furloughs were encouraged.
  • WSLCB Director Rick Garza addressed the Governor-appointed three-member Board on Tuesday June 23rd in part to share the agency’s furlough policy which had already been communicated to employees by Deputy Director Megan Duffy. The WSLCB elected to choose Mondays as the day when all employees would not work, and third Mondays when the cadence switched to once per month in August through November.
  • We have marked the agency’s furlough days on our WSLCB calendar.

Tuesday June 30th

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

  • [ Event Details ]
  • On Tuesday June 23rd, the WSLCB legal and policy team hosted the first listen and learn forum for the Tier 1 Expansion rulemaking project. The review of the first half of existing producer rules resulted in feedback encouraging tiered fees, modernization of security requirements, ownership of up to five production licenses, and more. The Tuesday June 30th forum will focus on the second half of existing producer rules, WAC 314-55-075 sections 6 through 11.
  • As the entire producer chapter was opened in the CR-101, changes could be undertaken with implications for other production tiers. During the first listen and learn forum, agency staff were open to feedback on all rules, including those which would require changes by the Legislature to modify privileges and constraints passed through from statute.

Wednesday July 1st

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

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The last 20 regularly scheduled EMT meetings have been cancelled. The EMT last convened on Wednesday February 12th.
  • EMT meetings are (were?) 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.

Thursday July 2nd

On Thursday at 10:00am PT, the weekly Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) Board Caucus was scheduled to recur.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • After shifting their caucus meetings from 10am to 11:30am throughout June to enable Chair Jane Rushford to solely represent the interests of the Board in agency staff meetings, the Board will again shift their caucus meetings to Thursday mornings at 10am throughout July as a result of the WSLCB furlough policy.
  • Cannabis Observer reached out to Executive Assistant Dustin Dickson to confirm the change. He replied, “...the Board will hold Caucus on Thursday (rather than Tuesday) next week. Due to furloughs and related schedule implications, the Board will hold Caucus on Thursdays through July. I’ll be updating the remainder of the online calendar to reflect these changes soon. The Board will also give appropriate consideration to the once-a-month furlough days in August, September, October and November as necessary.”

On Thursday at 10am PT, the bi-weekly WSLCB Marijuana Traceability Project (MTP) Integrator Work Session was scheduled to recur.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The Integrator Work Session was last convened on Thursday June 4th.
  • Agency staff encountered “technical difficulties” during the June 4th meeting which resulted in it not being recorded. A mixup occurred again prior to the June 18th meeting and participants were not notified the event had been cancelled.
  • Cannabis Observer followed up with WSLCB staff and learned that Sydney Jensen, the System Administrator who had been in charge of organizing the Integrator Work Sessions and the primary point of contact for third-party software providers since August 2019, had left the agency. Subsequent challenges have been reflective of new team members learning the ropes.

Friday July 3rd

Friday is a holiday for most Federal and State workers in relation to Independence Day.