The Week Ahead
(June 3, 2024)

CANNRA - External Stakeholder Meeting - 2024 - Minneapolis, Minnesota

As WSLCB staff worked to make progress on medical cannabis rulemaking, regulators from across the country would convene in Minneapolis to engage with “External Stakeholders.”

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

Monday June 3rd

WSLCB - Focus Group - HB 1453 Implementation

On Monday at 10am PT, Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) staff planned to host a focus group on the HB 1453 Implementation rulemaking project.

  • [ Event Details, Rulemaking Project ]
  • Passed in 2024, HB 1453 (“Providing a tax exemption for medical cannabis patients”) goes into effect on Thursday June 6th ahead of formal WSLCB rules required to implement the bill.  To educate and assuage concerns amidst the gap, WSLCB staff issued an infographic and FAQ on May 20th followed by retail licensee guidance on May 29th regarding “record keeping for cannabis retail licensees with a medical cannabis endorsement when providing the 37% cannabis excise tax exemption for qualifying sales before LCB rulemaking is complete.”
  • On Monday and Thursday, agency staff planned to host focus groups to gather feedback on draft rules also published on May 29th which mirror the retail licensee record keeping guidance issued the same day.  A new chapter WAC 314-55-090 details the requirements:
    • “(2) Cannabis licensees must retain the following information for five years, consistent with WAC 314-55-087, for every sale where the excise tax is exempted per RCW 69.50.535(2):
    • “(a) Date of sale;
    • “(b) Unique identifying number of qualifying patient making purchase;
    • “(c) Stock keeping unit (SKU) of cannabis concentrates, useable cannabis, or cannabis-infused products identified by the department as a compliant cannabis product in chapter 246-70 WAC and tested to the standards in chapter 246-70 WAC;
    • “(d) Sales price of cannabis concentrates, useable cannabis, or cannabis-infused products identified by the department as a compliant cannabis product in chapter 246-70 WAC and tested to the standards in chapter 246-70 WAC.
  • During their rulemaking update on Tuesday May 21st, WSLCB staff indicated their intention to quickly propose rules as a CR-102 during the June 18th Special Board Meeting (audio < 1m, video - WSLCB, video - TVW).

Tuesday June 4th

CANNRA - External Stakeholder Meeting - 2024

On Tuesday, the Cannabis Regulators Association (CANNRA) planned to convene their annual two-day External Stakeholder Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

  • [ Conference Details ]
  • CANNRA is a national organization of cannabis regulators and state and territorial agency partners which described its mission as seeking to " convene, educate, and support governmental jurisdictions responsible for implementing cannabis and cannabinoid policies and regulations. We do this by fostering collaboration and coordination to identify and share best practices that safeguard public health and consumer safety, promote equity, and create regulatory certainty for industry participants."
  • The event website described the organizers’ intent to bring together “a diverse array of national and international stakeholders in cannabis and cannabinoid policy, representing a range of perspectives and opinions, to engage in discussions with CANNRA member regulators and other attendees on cannabis and cannabinoid regulatory and policy topics. We purposefully seek to avoid an echo chamber and seek to engage groups that have differing viewpoints.”
  • The agenda for the event ranged far and wide, exploring contemporary topics of relevance from “Interstate and International Commerce” to “Cannabinoid Hemp” to “High Concentration THC products.”
    • WSLCB Director Will Lukela was scheduled to help wrap up the Tuesday proceedings as a panelist on "CANNRA Regulator Insights and Reflections from the Day."  Lukela was the only Washington state regulator listed as a speaker, a departure from prior years when several WSLCB staffers would generally participate.
    • Verda Bio CEO Jessica Tonani was a scheduled panelist for "Preserving and Enhancing Equity as Markets and Consumers Shift Towards Cannabinoid Hemp" on day two representing the Association of Western Hemp Professionals (AWHP).
    • Raven Co-Founder Micah Sherman planned to participate as a representative of the National Craft Cannabis Coalition (NCCC).
  • Cannabis Observer will not be directly observing the event.  CANNRA is a 501(c)(4) non-profit association and does not have to abide by any state or federal open meeting or open record laws.  The organization has traditionally not allowed members of the press to attend their meetings, although Politico was listed as an attendee at publication time.  CANNRA stated their intention to record the proceedings with the consent of panelists and potentially publish after the event.  But CANNRA staff also recorded the proceedings in 2023 and never subsequently published, even declining Cannabis Observer’s free offer of help to process the media.  At the time we were told CANNRA member organization staff had “volunteered” to undertake the work.
  • Leading up to the 2024 External Stakeholder Meeting, the group advertised “opportunities for press to engage” which we expressed interest in participating in.  Unfortunately, WSLCB Director of Communications Brian Smith, using public resources in his capacity as a volunteer supporting the private association, removed Cannabis Observer from consideration for the press event hosted on May 30th.  He later clarified, The reason that I did not submit the Cannabis Observer is because the Observer’s funding source is from the Washington cannabis industry. On the Cannabis Observer’s website, the funding source falls under the category of ‘Whom We Serve.’ That is an indication that the Observer is an advocacy publication and not an impartial and independent one.”

WSLCB - Board Caucus

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

Wednesday June 5th

WSLCB - Board Meeting

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

Thursday June 6th

WSLCB - Focus Group - HB 1453 Implementation

On Thursday at 1pm PT, WSLCB staff planned to host a focus group on the HB 1453 Implementation rulemaking project.

Friday June 7th

At publication time, no cannabis-related policymaking events were scheduled.