The Week Ahead
(July 27, 2020)

The Chelan County hemp moratorium was back, the Cannabis Science Task Force was prepared to convene, and WSLCB might be ready to speak with software integrators again.

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

Monday July 27th

On Monday, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) COVID Legal/Policy/Rules Meeting was scheduled to recur.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • Agency staff leadership, Board Chair Jane Rushford, and Assistant Attorney General Bruce Turcott convene multiple times per week via webinar to discuss policy-related questions raised in the context of the pandemic.
  • Originally having met daily every work day, the schedule of meetings was shifted to 3x per week (M, W, F) on June 10th.

Tuesday July 28th

On Tuesday at 9am PT, the weekly Chelan County Board of County Commissioners Board Meeting was scheduled to recur.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • Last Tuesday morning, Cannabis Observer connected to the weekly meeting of the Chelan County Commissioners to observe discussion and potential action on a “hemp moratorium.” During the board meeting, the Chelan County Community Development Department postponed their request claiming a need “to do a little bit more research.”
  • The action item is back on the agenda this week, albeit framed slightly differently as a “Resolution RE: Hemp Moratorium.” In addition, the Commissioners were poised to consent to filing four “Letter[s] of Objection to LCB” on Monday regarding license applications by Wander Farms, LLC; Grandpa Bud; Columbia Herbal, LLC; and Mark Reimers.
  • County commissioners, council members, and executives exert significant power over unincorporated areas in their respective counties and collectively band together through the Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC). WSAC advocates at the Legislature for the interests of its voting members, deploying nine lobbyists during the 2020 session. WSAC was also granted a seat on the Marijuana Odor Task Force which the WSLCB remains responsible for convening and has not mentioned publicly since early June. At publication time, Chelan County Commissioner and Chairman Doug England was one of 22 WSAC board members.

On Tuesday at 11:30am PT, the weekly WSLCB Board Caucus was scheduled to recur.

Wednesday July 29th

On Wednesday at 9am PT, the Department of Ecology (DOE) Cannabis Science Task Force (CSTF) Steering Committee was scheduled to convene.

On Wednesday at 10am PT, the WSLCB COVID Legal/Policy/Rules Meeting was scheduled to recur.

On Wednesday at 12:30pm PT, the Washington State Governor’s Interagency Council on Health Disparities Office of Equity Task Force was scheduled to convene its final meeting.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The Council’s Office of Equity Task Force last convened on May 27th. For context on the Council, the Task Force, and its relationship to the Cannabis Social Equity Task Force, see Cannabis Observer’s description in The Week Ahead on May 25th.
  • While the Washington State Office of Equity was created during the 2020 legislative session when HB 1783 was passed (with two line item vetoes), funding to support the agency was cut as part of the State’s preparations for fiscal fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • On Wednesday, council members will review their Final Proposal to the State. Its executive summary begins:
    • The COVID-19 pandemic and the intolerable ongoing legacy of police brutality further expose the devastating state of racism and its many related forms of discrimination that exist in our society. Discrimination due to skin color, culture, immigrant status, language, ability, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, being Indigenous. Despite our hope for a different reality, oppression and erasure are embedded in every part of our lives, including our state government.

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

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The last 24 regularly scheduled EMT meetings have been cancelled. The EMT last convened on Wednesday February 12th.
  • During the July 16th caucus, Board Chair Jane Rushford said “I feel it's important that we bring [EMTs] back.” She and Executive Assistant Dustin Dickson were “looking ahead to September” to refresh the EMT format, though she expected “we probably won’t do once a week, we don’t need to do that.” Nonetheless, Rushford expressed a need for “meaningful” meetings of WSLCB leadership (audio - 2m).
  • The Board calendar was subsequently updated to reflect Chair Rushford’s commitment, and all EMT meetings through August have been cancelled. Should the Board renew hosting EMT meetings during the first week in September, the agency will have gone 28 consecutive weeks without convening its Executive Management Team.

Thursday July 30th

On Thursday at 10am PT, the monthly WSLCB Marijuana Traceability Project (MTP) Integrator Work Session was scheduled to recur.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The last three scheduled Integrator Work Sessions were cancelled. The group last convened on Thursday June 4th.
  • On Thursday July 16th, attendees were notified that “The LCB is adjusting the scheduling of the Leaf integrator support meeting from bi-monthly, to once per month.” The email went on to describe the permitted scope of conversation and criteria by which proposed agenda items would be evaluated.
  • On Wednesday July 22nd, the WSLCB Board rescinded their board interim policy (BIP) 13-2019 permitting unapproved workarounds for certain parts of MJ Freeway’s Leaf Data Systems. Later during general public comment, Jim MacRae questioned the Board’s actions and claimed that "today, there is less product on the shelves that can be reliably tracked" to lab result codes than when version 1.37.5 was released, creating a “faith-based quality assurance system."
  • On Thursday July 23rd, the WSLCB sent a GovDelivery email detailing actions taken at the board meeting which included an uncharacteristic asterisk regarding the rescission of the traceability interim policy, reproduced in full here:
    • On July 23, 2019 BIP-13-2019 was adopted to allow marijuana licensees, labs and integrators flexibility to develop workarounds to problems directly associated with the lab test data and manifest information that were impacted by the code changes made in the 1.37.5 traceability system on July 15, 2019. This policy was aimed at records that were already in the traceability system and were being blocked by field parameters that had changed.
    • A condition for this very limited scope was the requirement to submit workarounds to a designated email address for record keeping and tracking.  WSLCB has tracked all requests made related to the BIP since July 2019.  A year has passed and the lab results and manifests that existed prior to July 15, 2019 are aging out or have had workarounds applied to those situations.  Lab results and transfers after July 15, 2019 are not within the scope of the BIP and are not subject to the same conditions that necessitated the BIP.
    • Moving forward, any instances in which lab results or manifests incorrectly create a block will be triaged on an individual basis by submitting a service ticket to Leaf Customer Support.
  • WSLCB staff unequivocally stated release 1.37.5 would be the last release of MJ Freeway’s software in Washington state in the conclusion of their July 16th email: “As a general reminder, there are no longer updates being made to the Leaf system and its existing code will not be updated, even if additional issues are found.”

Friday July 31st

On Friday at 10am PT, the WSLCB COVID Legal/Policy/Rules Meeting was scheduled to recur.