The Week Ahead
(October 18, 2021)

Theater Stage - 2022

A busy week inclusive of hearings on a local ban, medical cannabis taxation, social equity, and product testing would culminate in a legislative work session setting the stage for 2022.

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

Monday October 18th

Okanogan County - BOCC - Public Meeting

On Monday at 2:30pm PT, the Okanogan County Board of County Commissioners (Okanogan County - BOCC) was scheduled to host a public hearing on a cannabis production permitting moratorium.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • On August 24th, commissioners adopted a six-month moratorium on permitting of new cannabis producers or expansion of grows, and required existing businesses to corroborate site plan documentation. As the new ordinance was adopted without a public hearing, the commissioners were obligated by law to host a public hearing within sixty days. The board must also “adopt findings of fact justifying its action” either before or “immediately after this public hearing.”
  • At publication time, the agenda for the board’s proceedings for the week had not been published. Local observers Okanogan County Watch noted a recent “trend toward increased cancelation of BOCC meetings and changes in agendas.”

Tuesday October 19th

WSLCB - Board Caucus

On Tuesday at 10am PT, the weekly Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) Board Caucus was scheduled to recur.

Wednesday October 20th

WA Commission for Measurement of Tax Preferences - Public Meeting

On Wednesday at 10am PT, the Washington State Citizen Commission for Performance Measurement of Tax Preferences (WA Commission for Measurement of Tax Preferences) was scheduled to convene.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • As part of their iterative, annual review of tax preferences, the commissioners had been tasked to review a set of seven medical cannabis tax preferences this year. On August 3rd, commissioners learned about tax exemptions for medical patients and cooperatives, and the potentially dramatic impact of a statutory change redefining eligible cannabis purchases. On September 9th, a single patient offered testimony recommending sales tax breaks be reserved for registered patient purchases of DOH compliant products to incentivize “medical grade” production.
  • Meeting materials for the October 20th meeting included the draft combined comments composed by the Legislative Auditor and Chair. They recommended continuing the medical cannabis tax preferences, stating, “Testimony suggests the state should consider reviewing the definitions and guidelines associated with medical cannabis. The legislature may want to evaluate approaches used in other states, such as Colorado, and consider whether and to what extent Washington’s laws can be altered to better meet patient needs. The legislature may find that additional interventions may be needed to address the issues raised in testimony. These issues largely revolve around quality and price differentials between the regulated and unregulated market.”
  • On Wednesday, the commissioners would meet to finalize and adopt their recommendations, which will be shared with the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC).

WA SECTF - Work Group - Licensing - Public Meeting

On Wednesday at 1pm PT, the Washington State Legislative Task Force on Social Equity in Cannabis Licensing Work Group (WA SECTF - Work Group - Licensing) was scheduled to convene.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • In addition to reviewing outcomes from their September 22nd meeting, the work group members were scheduled to discuss “Additional Producer & Processor Licenses for Social Equity” and “City Incentives.”
  • All of the task force work groups were preparing additional or refined recommendations for consideration by the full task force on October 28th, likely the last opportunity to formally move potential social equity legislative concepts forward prior to the spring 2022 session.
  • However, the long-running WA SECTF Disproportionately Impacted Communities Work Group had been curiously quiet since the last full task force meeting. Their recommendations needed additional work, but the group had not subsequently met after their August 17th gathering. That group was relying on the work of two University of Washington researchers, paid by WSLCB, who were utilizing data previously provided by the Washington State Administrative Office of the Courts (WA AOC). A few months prior, WA AOC staff noted the authorization to use that data had expired and the researchers had subsequently struggled to obtain clearance to use the old data or be provided with new data. That's potentially important since the work group was tasked with recommending a fundamental definition---really an algorithm---for “Disproportionately Impacted Areas” in the state, one of the primary criteria for determining eligibility of social equity applicants.

WSLCB - Listen and Learn Forum - Quality Control Testing and Product Requirements

On Wednesday at 1pm PT, WSLCB staff planned to host a Listen and Learn Forum on the Quality Control (QC) Testing and Product Requirements rulemaking project.

Thursday October 21st

WA House COG - Committee Meeting

On Thursday at 9am PT, the Washington State House Commerce and Gaming Committee (WA House COG) planned to convene.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • In advance of legislative sessions, Washington State House and Senate committees generally host assembly days featuring preparative work sessions. The primary cannabis policy committee in the House would convene on Thursday to hear agency and industry representatives report on specific subjects and their priorities.
  • During his legislative update at the WSLCB Executive Management Team meeting on October 13th, Director of Legislative Relations Chris Thompson reported that the committee members and staff wanted to hear about several specific topics (video, audio - 3m).

Friday October 22nd

At publication time, no cannabis-related policymaking events were scheduled.