The Week Ahead
(June 24, 2024)

What is High THC?

Responding to the interests of a board member, WSLCB staff planned to host a focus group on “high THC” cannabis products - though participation was constrained to industry “networks.”

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

Monday June 24th

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

Tuesday June 25th

WSLCB - Board Caucus

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

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.

Wednesday June 26th

WSLCB - Focus Group - High THC Products

On Wednesday at 9am PT, WSLCB staff planned to host a focus group on high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis products.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • On Thursday June 20th, WSLCB Public Health Education Liaison Kristen Haley emailed an undisclosed group of “Cannabis Industry leaders and representatives for Cannabis Industry Associations” to invite them and their “networks” to “a discussion to learn from representatives across the cannabis industry on the topic of high THC.”
    • The invitation explained, “As many of you may be aware, several versions of a high THC bill were considered during the 2024 legislation session. Ultimately, HB 2320 was passed and aims to mitigate some of the unintended harm that may be caused by cannabis products with high levels of THC. At LCB, we feel like there may be more that could be done to protect the health and safety of consumers and we’d like to hear from this community to better understand your needs and interests in this area. We also want to hear about your reservations or concerns related to potential changes in legislation.”
  • Following passage of HB 2320 (“Concerning high THC cannabis products”) on March 29th, WSLCB was tasked with tracking “data on the amount of products sold under the three broad categories (usable cannabis, cannabis concentrates, and cannabis-infused products), the average THC concentration, the average milligrams of THC per unit sold, and the range of THC concentration in both usable cannabis and cannabis concentrates.” This information was to be put into a legislatively mandated report “due by Nov. 14, of 2025.”
  • On April 4th, WSLCB Cannabinoid Science Work Group members talked about how to define “high THC” and serving sizes but, besides an increased focus on public education, a consensus proved elusive.
  • Board Member Jim Vollendroff had taken a particular interest in using the power of WSLCB to convene diverse stakeholder groups in pursuit of workable compromises around the contentious subject of higher concentration THC cannabis products.
    • In February 2023, Vollendroff drew attention to legislation put forward by Representative Lauren Davis, “the potency bills” HB 1641 and HB 1642, which weren’t active at the time making it a “moot point now.” He indicated, “I would have liked…at some point to have a conversation about them. And where do we stand,” he told the group, because he felt “it seems like we…stood back and didn't really engage in a conversation about that.”
  • On April 16th during a board discussion about their closed Public Health and Prevention Roundtable hosted the day before, Vollendroff asked if "high THC concentration products" had come up. He added, “there's notes here that there's going to be a workgroup or a group of people getting together” (audio - 2m, video - WSLCB, video - TVW).
    • Vollendroff mentioned having emailed Davis about getting together to “talk about where things were left, and what we should consider moving forward. But bringing together industry and other public health and other people to the table as well.”
    • Board Chair David Postman replied that the “expert on it" Beatriz Carlini, University of Washington Addictions, Drug, and Alcohol Institute (UW ADAI) Research Scientist at the Cannabis Education and Research Program, had left the event before the topic was broached. Postman said he believed “we have an obligation to stake out a position on this issue, even if it's taxation, which we normally don't, because it really is an emerging issue.” He claimed that attendees from the public health sector “said there were some people on the licensee side who were supportive of trying to find an answer and they had some good conversations.” Postman knew there was “eagerness on public health and prevention's part to, to have those discussions with the industry,” and expected “LCB can play that role…helping to to bring folks together and I know that's an area you're interested in, so maybe that's something that you want to work with Kristen on.”
  • At the end of the event announcement, Haley concluded,“This meeting is the first of its kind and it is my hope that we can conduct additional meetings using this format to address other topics of interest in the future. Thank you in advance for your willingness to participate and for your patience as I try something new! 😊”
    • At publication time, there was no indication that the focus group on June 26th would include participants beyond the cannabis sector.  WSLCB staff had not publicized the existence of other focus groups soliciting the perspectives of other stakeholder groups.  And there was no indication that WSLCB staff intended to utilize their power of convening to directly help bridge the distances between stakeholder groups on the subject of high THC cannabis products - or cannabis products more generally.
    • On June 12th during a discussion about potential 2025 legislation, Vollendroff highlighted that he’d “talked to Rep. [Lauren] Davis about this, but I anticipate the high [tetrahydrocannabinol] THC concentration products will come up in some fashion” (audio - 1m, video - TVW, video - WSLCB).

Thursday June 27th

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

Friday June 28th

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