WA Governor - Bill Action
(March 24, 2022) - HB 1859

Interagency Coordination Team (ICT)

The governor signed the only non-controversial cannabis bill of the 2022 session into law, setting regulators up to form an interagency coordination team responsible for lab standards.

Here are some observations from the Thursday March 24th Washington State Office of the Governor (WA Governor) Bill Action.

My top 3 takeaways:

  • HB 1859, “Concerning quality standards for laboratories conducting cannabis analysis,” was signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee (audio - <1m, video).
    • Before signing the enrolled legislation, he explained that it transferred authority for cannabis laboratory accreditation standards to the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) “instead of the Liquor and Cannabis Board." The two agencies had “requested this bill,” which mandated the formation of an Interagency Coordination Team (ICT), Inslee remarked. He stated that this "shift will help the state meet potency and food safety standards for cannabis products."
    • As he signed the measure into law, Inslee thanked Representative Shelley Kloba, the bill sponsor, and Senator Steve Conway, who sponsored the Washington State Senate (WA Senate) companion bill.
  • With Inslee’s signature, the enrolled bill became session law via the Washington Secretary of State and would take effect 90 days after the conclusion of the 2022 session on June 9th.
    • WSDA officials were required to begin incorporating cannabis lab standards into Title 16 of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) through rulemaking processes set out in Part III of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) as the standards were developed by the ICT.
    • WSDA, WSLCB, and DOH leaders would be required to assign existing staff with relevant scientific expertise or hire new staff to act as representatives or administrative support staff for ICT. Staffing needs were outlined in the supplemental budget requests for the participating agencies
      • The WSDA request anticipated 5 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff.
      • The WSLCB request anticipated 2.5 FTEs, two chemists and half of a Washington Management Service (WMS) staffer’s time.
      • The DOH request anticipated 2.9 FTEs during the first biennium, and 5.4 in the next. Specifically, the department would hire a chemist, an epidemiologist, a microbiologist, a Health Services Consultant, and a WMS staffer.
    • On March 23rd, Senator Karen Keiser raised the possibility of having the ICT act as “a launching point" for state agencies to weigh in on other potential cannabis issues, specifically referencing a cannabis commodity commission. She wondered about the value of an ICT “seal of approval” to indicate an idea had been vetted by multiple state cannabis regulators.

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