Unnaturally, farmers still have to ask whether the State considers cannabis production an agricultural activity as the Governor issues a new round of emergency proclamations.
Here’s a look at cannabis-related policymaking events on Cannabis Observer’s calendars in the week ahead.
Monday June 1st
On Sunday May 31st at 11:59pm, a large swath of the Washington State Governor’s proclamations relating to the on-going State of Emergency declared for all counties were set to expire. With the consent of the bipartisan leadership of the Washington State Legislature, 23 proclamations were declared or extended on Friday May 29th, and specified as effective “until the termination of the COVID-19 State of Emergency or 11:59 p.m. on June 17, 2020, whichever occurs first,” including:
On Sunday May 31st, the Governor again revised proclamation 20-25, his fundamental “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, to establish new guidelines for re-opening economic and social life throughout the state on a county-by-county basis. The Office of the Governor’s “Safe Start Washington” plan details public, business, and individual requirements for a new phase of life under the current extended public health emergency. The new plan includes requirements that all businesses must follow.
On Thursday May 28th, the Governor issued a new proclamation “20-57 - Concerning the Health of Agricultural Workers” and an associated description of “COVID-19 Agricultural Requirements.” The operative language in the proclamation states:
FURTHERMORE, I hereby modify those provisions of Proclamation 20-25 (as amended) applicable to essential workers and workplaces to prohibit any agricultural employer from continuing to operate beyond June 3, 2020, unless the employer complies with all provisions of the Agriculture COVID-19 Requirements – Provisions for All Worksites and Work-Related Functions found here, which prohibition shall remain in effect throughout the duration of the State of Emergency.
Unnaturally, a question all cannabis farmers still have to ask is whether the State has finally accepted the reality that cannabis is a plant and clearly declared the production of cannabis an agricultural activity to ascertain whether or not the new proclamation---and many other responsibilities---legally apply to their businesses.
Cannabis Observer does not offer legal advice, but the proclamation does go on to provide some guidance about who is and is not considered an “agricultural employer”:
For purposes of this Proclamation, agricultural employers include orchards, fields, dairies, and all other operations expressly identified in WAC 296-307-006; all fruit- and vegetable-packing warehouses whether owned by the grower or producer or not; and employer- or operator-provided transportation and housing. These requirements do not apply to meat or other food processing operations.
Within the context of the on-going Emergency, “Workers supporting cannabis retail” are declared essential businesses within the Food and Agriculture Sector. Readers may also want to refer to COVID-19 Information resources at the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA).
Tuesday June 2nd
On Tuesday at 10am PT, the weekly Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) Board Caucus was scheduled to recur.
- [ Event Details ]
- The Board convened its regularly scheduled caucus last week on Tuesday May 26th. At publication time, the last time the Board physically met in-person was Tuesday March 10th.
Wednesday June 3rd
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 15 regularly scheduled EMT meetings have been cancelled. The EMT last convened on Wednesday February 12th.
Thursday June 4th
On Thursday at 10am PT, the bi-weekly WSLCB Marijuana Traceability Project (MTP) Integrator Work Session was scheduled to recur.
- [ Event Details ]
- The Integrator Work Session has been convened once since mid-March, on Thursday May 7th. Four out of five Integrator Work Sessions have been cancelled during that time.
- The WSLCB quietly signed its 12th contract amendment with MJ Freeway to extend their business relationship for an additional six months through 2020. The agency gave up on its collaboration with MJ Freeway for development of additional functionality in late 2019---much to the relief of all parties involved---and now relies on the vendor to operate Leaf Data Systems as a subscription service. The troubled traceability system continues to mediate the exchange of information which enables Washington state’s adult-use cannabis supply chain to function.