The Week Ahead
(December 14, 2020)

As the holiday season grew near, cannabis policymaking and legislative planning activity increased - most notably among public health and prevention advocates.

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

2021 Legislative Session

Prefiled Bills

Monday December 14th

On Monday at 8:30am PT, the Washington State Legislative Task Force on Social Equity in Cannabis (WA Task Force on Social Equity in Cannabis) planned to convene for its second public meeting.

Tuesday December 15th

On Tuesday at 10am PT, the weekly WSLCB Board Caucus was scheduled to recur.

Wednesday December 16th

On Wednesday at 10am PT, the inaugural meeting of the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) Marijuana Infused Edibles (MIE) Product Scope Work Group was scheduled to occur.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • On October 27th, the WSDA Food Safety Program hosted a webinar for MIE stakeholders and interested parties. One outcome of that meeting was the formation of a new work group to help the Program decide how to proceed on expansion of allowed edible product types. On December 16th, that work group planned to convene for the first time.
  • Cannabis Observer reached out to WSDA Food Safety Program staff ahead of the October webinar to request their approval to observe the webinar. After some discussion, WSDA agreed to let us observe, produce outputs that were useful for staff as well as stakeholders, and summarize the event.
  • At publication time, WSDA Food Safety Program staff had not subsequently responded to our request to observe the work group meeting. It’s our understanding that multiple members of the work group have also requested that we be invited to observe.

On Wednesday at 1pm PT, the Washington Poison Center (WAPC) webinar “E-Cigarettes: Finding the Truth Among the Vapors” was scheduled to occur.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • Last week, we noted the WAPC hosted a webinar titled “Let’s Talk Cannabis: Capacity building training for influential adults.” At that time, we indicated:
    • Cannabis Observer has not previously tracked the Washington Poison Center as it is a private entity. However, given its substantial State funding, influence as a source for data on cannabis “exposures,” and engagement with WSLCB on cannabis policymaking - we’ve been aware of the organization for some time. Now that we’ve learned the organization also undertakes training of public health and prevention community audiences on the nature and regulation of cannabis, we’ve decided to learn more.
  • This week, the WAPC is hosting an “online training for adults [intended to] equip you with the knowledge, tools, and confidence to educate others and hold conversations with youth in your community on nicotine and cannabis vaping.”

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

  • [ Event Details ]
  • On December 9th, the WSLCB hosted the last EMT meeting of 2020. We composed a summary of the primary topics addressed in that meeting which had not been addressed in recent legislative work sessions - with the exception of a presentation by Public Health Education Liaison Sara Cooley Broschart (audio - 13m). We’ll provide a summary later during this week which is notable for an abundance of prevention community coordination.

Thursday December 17th

On Thursday at 9am PT, the monthly Department of Ecology (DOE) Cannabis Science Task Force (CSTF) Steering Committee public meeting was scheduled to occur.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The CSTF Steering Committee last met on November 20th. The meetings of this important body have been getting more contentious as competing interests and perspectives negotiate future paths for cannabis testing laboratories in Washington state. This week’s meeting will begin with extra heaviness after two enforcement actions were announced by cannabis regulators in Washington and Oregon this past Friday December 11th.
  • On Friday morning, WSLCB announced “Cannabis Testing Lab Praxis Shut Down for Falsifying Test Results,” thirty minutes later posting a minor correction. The WSLCB correction alleged fraud: “Praxis falsified their testing data on more than 1200 samples of cannabis by providing higher tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) potency results than tests actually found.” Furthermore, the agency alleged Praxis attempted to impede the investigation: “During the investigation the lab owner attempted to destroy evidence of falsified data in an effort to obstruct LCB’s ability to conduct a complete investigation.” The lab was suspended for 180 days, during which time the WSLCB would seek permanent revocation of the lab’s certification to test cannabis in Washington state.
  • Also on Friday, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) announced a voluntary recall of cannabis vapor products containing an older formulation of Viscosity, a diluent manufactured by True Terpenes. The OLCC news release asserted, “marijuana products sold in Oregon’s recreational marijuana market during the last two years contained additives, squalene and squalane, that have been linked to safety concerns similar to Vitamin E Acetate when vaped and inhaled.” Squalene is a naturally-occurring triterpene which can be derived from botanical sources such as olives or olive oil, whereas Squalane is a hydrogenated version of Squalene. On December 17th, OLCC planned to take emergency actions to declare both molecules “adulterants” and undertake next steps on rulemaking underway to “establish greater transparency and accountability regarding non-cannabis ingredients” - resoundingly similar to efforts underway at WSLCB to implement HB 2826.

On Thursday at 10am PT, the Northwest Prevention Technology Transfer Center (NW PTTC) webinar “The More the Merrier? THC Potency in the Legalization Era” was scheduled to occur.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • On November 4th during the Washington State Prevention Summit, an annual event hosted by the Washington Health Care Authority (WA HCA) and sponsored by WSLCB, public health researchers hosted a session titled, “A Couple of Things About Cannabis.” During that session, the researchers shared “Cannabis Concentration and Health Risks: A Report for the Washington State Prevention Research Subcommittee (PRSC).” The webinar on Thursday is a direct follow up to that presentation and research.
  • The event website states participants will “Learn how legalization for non-medical marijuana use has transformed the cannabis plant into manufactured products of high THC potency. Washington State researchers will share a recently published Washington State Scientists Consensus Statement on high potency cannabis and the findings of an accompanying report from this same group. Washington State community prevention partners will explore the prevention and policy implications from this research report and investigate advocacy opportunities.”
  • It’s Cannabis Observer’s understanding that Representative Lauren Davis---the primary sponsor of HB 2546, a potency bill which proceeded no further than its initial public hearing---intends to file a different cannabis potency bill during the 2021 session. At publication time, that bill was not yet prefiled.

On Thursday at 10am PT, a WSLCB Prevention Roundtable Focus Group for the southwest region was scheduled to occur.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • As part of its outreach to and engagement with prevention community advocates, Chair Jane Rushford, Broschart, and WSLCB staff organize several “prevention roundtable” events annually. This particular event was originally intended to be hosted in Vancouver in October, but was rescheduled as a virtual event.

Friday December 18th

On Friday at 10am PT, a WSLCB Prevention Roundtable Focus Group for the central region was scheduled to occur.