The Week Ahead
(October 12, 2020)

City of Everett - CB 2009-49 - Amendment of Recreational Marijuana Zoning (Version 2)

WSLCB’s final BIPOC Engagement and opportunity to consider rulemaking on out-of-state ownership could be overshadowed by the City of Everett opening up 3 new retail opportunities.

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

Monday October 12th

On Monday at 10am PT, 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.

On Monday at 1pm PT, the third and final WSLCB Engagement with black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities was scheduled to occur.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • Prompted by the passage of HB 2870 in the spring of 2020, the WSLCB committed to scheduling a series of engagements with "communities of color."
    • Cannabis Observer opted to use the terminology "black, indigenous, and people of color" (BIPOC) rather than "communities of color" in recognition of the likelihood that perceptions about the WSLCB may not be shared within racial and/or ethnic groups, and the so-called war on drugs disproportionately impacted African American communities in Washington and across the United States.
  • Originally intending to host five engagements, the agency committed to three virtual events, of which this will be the third and final event in this series.
  • On October 5th, WSLCB hosted the second BIPOC Engagement. WSLCB leadership listened during more than two hours of community feedback, provided some feedback of their own, and shared new details about the Social Equity in Cannabis Task Force.
  • Barriers to entry encountered at the first meeting hosted on WebEx Events were addressed by the agency prior to the next meeting. On October 8th, the WSLCB announced the third meeting would be hosted on a different platform (Zoom) requiring re-registration.
  • Also on Monday, the Washington cities of Seattle, Olympia, Bainbridge Island, Spokane, Yakima, Pullman, and Tacoma would officially recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day in opposition to a federally designated holiday, Columbus Day. During her introduction at the first BIPOC engagement, Senator Rebecca Saldaña began with an acknowledgement that participants such as herself were living on and participating from lands of indigenous communities which predated Washington state. She honored “their legacy and continued leadership.”

Tuesday October 13th

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

  • [ Event Details ]
  • In addition to preparation for the biweekly WSLCB board meeting, members would consider two petitions for rulemaking.
    • The first petition for rulemaking is listed in the agenda as “Re: Residency Requirements – Filed by Lukas Hunter.” Presumably at issue in the petition were numerous choices the Board made to establish a prohibition on out of state ownership of cannabis licenses. Were the Board to accept the petition for rulemaking, it’s unclear what effect that would have on the renewed Thurston County Superior Court case on the same subject, Brinkmeyer v. WSLCB (20-2-01568-34), which was remanded from the U.S. District Court on October 5th.
    • The second petition for rulemaking is listed on the agenda as “Re: Third Party Fire Inspections – Filed by Ryan Agnew.” WAC 314-55-104(8) states “Professional closed loop systems, other equipment used, the extraction operation, and facilities must be approved for their use by the local fire code official…” It’s Cannabis Observer’s understanding that processors in Chelan County who were in operation prior to a county-level ban instituted there have been contending with local fire code officials who refuse to perform inspections because of the ban.

On Tuesday at 1:15pm PT, the monthly Washington State Board of Health (SBOH) Board Meeting was scheduled to recur.

  • [ Event Details, Rulemaking Project ]
  • At 2:30pm PT, the SBOH Board planned to host a public hearing on proposed rules to implement a more permanent prohibition on the use of vitamin E acetate in any vapor product.
  • Cannabis Observer has noted that while the agency’s rulemaking process is governed by the Administrative Procedures Act, SBOH follows a slightly different and at times more accelerated process because their Executive Director (ED) is authorized to sign rulemaking documents which are then filed with the Washington State Office of the Code Reviser (WA OCR).
    • SBOH Board approval to start this particular rulemaking project was verbally granted on March 11th. The CR-101, signed by the ED, was filed on May 6th.
    • The CR-102 was filed on August 21st without formal public review by the SBOH Board.
    • The Cover Memo for the CR-102 public hearing on Tuesday states, “we will hold a public hearing on the rule and discuss proposed changes if any.” Then a potential motion is recommended: ”The Board adopts the proposed new section of rule, WAC 246-80-021, published in WSR-20-18-012, with the revisions agreed upon at today’s meeting, if any, and directs staff to file a CR-103 and establish an effective date.“
  • By way of contrast, the WSLCB board members require presentation of and formally vote to approve more steps in their rulemaking process, and Board Chair Jane Rushford’s signature is applied to all documents filed with the WA OCR. At publication time, Cannabis Observer had not observed a circumstance where the WSLCB Board both hosted a public hearing and approved a CR-103 for filing at the same public meeting.

Wednesday October 14th

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

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

  • [ Event Details ]
  • At publication time, the agenda for this week’s WSLCB Board Meeting was not available but the event looked likely to occur as members would meet in caucus the day before to prepare.
  • On September 15th, Policy and Rules Manager Kathy Hoffman reminded board members that they approved an interim policy in December 2018, BIP 06-2018, regarding “allowing marijuana licensees to spend their own money on their businesses prior to the Board vetting the funds.” Hoffman said “now that the true party of interest rules have been adopted and will go into effect early next month, at the board meeting on the 14th of October I do plan on asking you to rescind this board interim policy because it is no longer necessary.”

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

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The agency’s last EMT meeting was hosted on September 16th. Although still listed as a weekly event, the Board has indicated these meetings will be hosted monthly through the end of the calendar year.
  • During the September 29th board caucus, Chair Rushford mentioned her interest in focusing the next EMT “mid-month” in October on the agency’s social equity efforts.  Accordingly, we did NOT expect this EMT meeting---nor the next---would be cancelled.

On Wednesday at 6:30pm PT, the weekly City of Everett City Council Meeting was scheduled to recur.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The City of Everett City Council planned to host a public hearing on two variants of legislation which, if approved, would revise the number of permitted retail outlets in the city upwards from five to eight, and potentially revise the buffer requirements downwards from 2500’ to 500’.
  • The Cover Sheet for council bill (CB) 2009-49, “Amendment of recreational marijuana zoning regulations,” indicated that this legislative push was preceded by a similar unsuccessful effort in May 2018. Action was suspended after initial hearings in February and March 2020 were derailed by the pandemic.
  • The City’s Planning and Legal Departments recommended Council “Adopt Ordinance increasing the number of permitted Recreational Marijuana Retail Stores to not more than Eight, amending Section C of Ordinance No. 3486-16 (EMC 19.39.145, as amended).” A stipulation of that ordinance would be that “Any retail marijuana store hereafter established shall be certified as a medical marijuana provider by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.”
  • An alternative ordinance also up for public comment and potential action would additionally revise city statute to significantly shrink buffer zones between licensed retail premises. The operative language would be changed to state: “Marijuana retailers may not locate within two thousand five hundred feet of any other legally established marijuana retailer.”
  • Those wishing to offer public comment must sign into an alternative number. Select from all connection options on our event screen.

Friday October 16th

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