The Week Ahead
(April 22, 2024)

WSLCB - WSDA - A Tale of Two Agencies

As the WSLCB Policy and Rules team jettisoned previously planned public engagements to accommodate backlogged work, WSDA staff would review their expanding cannabis programs.

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

Monday April 22nd

WSLCB - Focus Group - SB 5367 Implementation

On Monday, the previously planned Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) focus group on the SB 5367 Implementation rulemaking project had been cancelled.

  • [ Event Details, Rulemaking Project ]
  • On Wednesday April 17th, WSLCB Director of Policy and External Affairs Justin Nordhorn announced a revised schedule for the pre-proposal rulemaking project workshops, lowering the total count of planned events from 15 to ten and moving the date of completion of those workshops to the beginning of May rather than mid-May.
  • The announcement suggested that the change was undertaken “Because LCB has so many active and pending rule projects.”  However, the WSLCB Board Meeting on Wednesday April 10th—where additional work could have been formally started—was cancelled, and the legislative session—where additional work was created—concluded on March 7th.

Tuesday April 23rd

WSLCB - Board Caucus

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

  • [ Event Details ]
  • According to the agenda, in addition to a rulemaking update, Research Manager Sarah Okey was scheduled to present a “Social Equity Survey Review.”

WA HCA - DBHR Listening Session

On Tuesday at 1:30pm PT, the monthly Washington State Health Care Authority (WA HCA) Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR) Behavioral Health Service Provider Listening Session was scheduled to recur.

  • “Section updates from the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery
  • “Updates on the Healthy Youth survey and Young Adult Health survey
  • “A new behavioral health facility
  • “A [State Plan Amendment] SPA update”

WSLCB - Focus Group - SB 5367 Implementation

On Tuesday at 2pm, a WSLCB focus group on the SB 5367 Implementation rulemaking project was scheduled to occur.

  • [ Event Details, Rulemaking Project ]
  • The workshop on Tuesday was scheduled to focus on WAC 314-55-105 (“Packaging and labeling”).  After close of business on Thursday April 18th, draft rule revisions were published on the WSLCB website but not otherwise announced by agency staff.
  • The draft rules do away with the previous formula for calculating a “Total THC” measure for cannabis concentrates, edibles, edibles in liquid form, useable cannabis, cannabis mix, and cannabis topicals; instead replacing it with a new labeling requirement:
    • “Cannabinoid concentration, that includes the total THC and total CBD, using the formulas referenced in WAC 314-55-102. If a THC compound, other than delta-9 THC or delta-9 THCA, are tested in the cannabinoid concentration analysis and has a concentration that exceeds 1 mg/g, the cannabinoid must be listed on the label;”

Wednesday April 24th

WSLCB - Board Meeting

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

  • [ Event Details ]
  • During the last substantial rulemaking update during the WSLCB Board Caucus on March 26th, Policy and Rules staff indicated plans to initiate rulemaking through a CR-101 on the Payment Terms rulemaking petition concerning mailed checks as an acceptable form of remuneration between licensed businesses.  That petition was recommended to and accepted by the Board for potential rulemaking on March 29th, 2023.
  • During the same update in late March, Policy and Rules staff indicated their intention to propose rule revisions as part of a CR-102 on the Retail Medical Cannabis Endorsements rulemaking project at the Board Meeting on Wednesday.
    • Initiated by petition in January 2023 and accepted for potential rulemaking at the same March 2023 Board Meeting, the rulemaking project was later initiated in October of that year.  The notice to stakeholders at that time generously anticipated a CR-102 would be filed “on or after January 31, 2024” - but that date was then repeatedly pushed back by Policy and Rules staff.
  • As well, it’s Cannabis Observer’s understanding that one or more rulemaking projects may be initiated regarding the implementation of HB 1453, 2024 legislation “Providing a tax exemption for medical cannabis patients.”
    • While the new law goes into effect on June 6th—at which time authorized patients registered with the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) can legally purchase cannabis products deemed compliant with DOH medical cannabis rules from retailers carrying a medical cannabis endorsement without paying the 37% excise tax—it remained unclear whether qualified and willing retailers would be able to do so without clear guidance from WSLCB.
    • The law specifies two reporting requirements that WSLCB staff must define:
      • “(b) Each seller making exempt sales under this subsection (2) must maintain information establishing eligibility for the exemption in the form and manner required by the board.
      • “(c) The board must provide a separate tax reporting line on the excise tax form for exemption amounts claimed under this subsection (2).”
    • When WSLCB defines those reporting requirements, possibly in coordination with the Washington State Department of Revenue (WA DOR), there may be changes required to the Cannabis Central Reporting System (CCRS).  Any changes to CCRS would then require coordination with point-of-sale and integration software service providers.

Thursday April 25th

WSDA - Webinar - Cannabis Program

On Thursday at 1pm PT, staff from the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) Cannabis Program were scheduled to host an informational webinar.

Friday April 26th

WSLCB - Focus Group - SB 5367 Implementation

On Friday at 10am, a WSLCB focus group on the SB 5367 Implementation rulemaking project was scheduled to occur.

  • [ Event Details, Rulemaking Project ]
  • The second to last workshop would focus on draft changes to WAC 314-55-102 (“Quality Assurance and Quality Control Testing”) and WAC 314-55-109 (“Cannabinoid Additives”).
    • On the afternoon of Friday April 19th, WSLCB staff published a draft revision of section (3)(a) in the quality control rules, but did not otherwise announce the release.
    • At publication time, Cannabis Observer was not aware of a public release of draft rules on cannabinoid additives.