The Week Ahead
(December 7, 2020)

Washington Poison Center - 3 Edibles Missing

Prefiling of bills for the 2021 legislative session begins, the WSLCB takes next steps implementing 2020 legislation, and the Washington Poison Center offers training on cannabis.

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

2021 Washington State Legislative Session

Here we go again - but this time will be different. Although the 2021 Regular Session in Washington state formally begins on Monday January 11th, prefiling of bills with the Washington State Office of the Code Reviser begins on Monday December 7th. According to the “Overview of the Legislative Process,” prefiled bills are officially introduced the first day of the session.”

Cannabis Observer will be more closely tracking prefiled bills---and the legislative session in general---this year. As bills are prefiled and begin to be introduced, we’ll provide updates here as part of The Week Ahead. If you would rather realtime updates---and connection with your peers---we strongly encourage you to join our Slack workspace where we post information as we learn about it.

Monday December 7th

On Monday at 10am PT, a Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) Special Board Caucus was scheduled to occur.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • This unusual WSLCB event was scheduled late on Friday December 4th for the purpose of hosting a closed executive session “To evaluate the qualifications of an applicant for public employment or to review the performance of a public employee.”
  • Cannabis Observer has no direct insight into the purpose of this meeting, but we have observed that the job listing for a new WSLCB Director of Enforcement and Education has been open for some time.
    • At the last WSLCB Executive Management Team (EMT) meeting in September, Deputy Director Megan Duffy discussed Enforcement and Education Chief Justin Nordhorn’s lateral move to a new Director of Policy and External Affairs role, contingent on hiring a replacement.
    • During the last WSLCB Traceability 2.0 Work Group meeting in October, I took the opportunity to congratulate Chief Nordhorn on his new role, and asked if he could clarify whether he would be responsible for the agency’s legislative outreach. Nordhorn responded that he’d work “side by side” with Director of Legislative Relations Chris Thompson to deal with legislation, but that Nordhorn himself would be responsible for “policy oversight issues and external affairs issues.” He anticipated “a lot of crossover” between policy and legislative work. Nordhorn would also be studying “policy and interpretation” by agency employees as well as legislative intent before publishing position statements so that policies were “applied consistently across the state” (audio - 3m).
    • It’s worth noting that the WSLCB elected to change the title of this role in the transition, discarding “Chief” as formal nomenclature.

Tuesday December 8th

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

  • [ Event Details ]
  • We expect this meeting will occur to enable the Policy and Rules team to prepare board members for formal rulemaking during Wednesday’s board meeting.

Wednesday December 9th

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

  • [ Event Details ]
  • HB 2826 Implementation (Rulemaking Project). It’s our understanding that the Policy and Rules team planned to present a CR-102 containing proposed rules for the implementation of HB 2826 at this board meeting. See the Rulemaking Project link for background on the project, including draft conceptual rules and links to both listen and learn forums.
  • Location Compliance Certificates (Rulemaking Project). It’s our understanding that the agency planned to host a public hearing on the CR-102 proposed rules for the implementation of SB 6206 which we describe as Location Compliance Certificates.

On Wednesday at 1pm PT, the Washington Poison Center (WAPC) webinar “Let’s Talk Cannabis: A capacity building training for influential adults” was scheduled to occur.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The Washington Poison Center (WAPC) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization incorporated in 1956. WAPC’s specialists in poison information answer more than 63,000 calls a year from Washingtonians related to poisoning and toxic exposures. WAPC receives funding from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and partners with many state and local government entities as well as academic and prevention community organizations.
    • In February 2017, WAPC and the WSLCB launched the Not For Kids warning symbol to help identify edible cannabis products. The logo with WAPC's hotline number are required design elements on all edible packaging in Washington state.
  • 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.

On Wednesday at 1:30pm PT, the three-member Board and agency leadership were scheduled to convene their weekly WSLCB Executive Management Team (EMT) meeting.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The last 11 regularly scheduled EMT meetings were cancelled. Although still listed as a weekly event, the Board had indicated these meetings would be hosted monthly through the end of the calendar year. At publication time, the EMT last convened on September 16th after a 7-month hiatus and did not meet in October or November.
  • In discussion about diminished transparency at the WSLCB during the Board Caucus on November 24th, Board Chair Jane Rushford stated that the next EMT meeting was planned for December 9th. Late on Friday December 4th, all remaining EMT meetings for 2020 were cancelled save this one. Assuming the EMT hosts their December 9th event, they will have convened 5 out of 53 possible occasions in 2020.