WA House APP - Committee Meeting
(February 1, 2018) - HB 2334 - Public Hearing

Cannabis Oil - Slosh

Legislation which would authorize the importation of CBD products into I-502 received its first finance committee public hearing.

Here are some observations from the Thursday February 1st, 2018 Washington State House Appropriations Committee (WA House APP) Committee Meeting.

My top 3 takeaways:

  • Committee Counsel Linda Merelle briefed lawmakers on the substitute version of the bill to regulate imported cannabidiol (CBD) for use as an additive in cannabis products (audio - 3m, video).
    • On January 8th, HB 2334 ("Regulating the use of cannabinoid additives in marijuana products") was heard by the Washington State House Commerce and Gaming Committee (WA House COG). A substitute version was recommended for passage by committee members on January 15th.
    • Merelle said cannabinoids were a “wide range of organic compounds derived from the cannabis plant” and CBD was one such cannabinoid that “may have health benefits and is an active ingredient in the regulated medical marijuana products sold under Washington’s system.” She indicated that “in its purest form CBD does not contain [tetrahydrocannabinol] THC,” which she claimed was “the main active ingredient in cannabis.” The THC content in hemp-derived CBD “is typically small,” Merelle explained, and CBD products with 0.3% THC or less did not “meet the statutory definition of marijuana.”
    • Merelle stated that CBD was already in use as “an additive by licensed processors to enhance the CBD content of medical marijuana products” and had been “commonly purchased from sources outside of Washington’s regulatory system.” Use of imported CBD in legal cannabis products at that time was “not subject to state regulation and not subject to laboratory testing for toxins and other impurities,” she observed.
    • HB 2334 added a definition of ‘CBD product’ to the state controlled substances statute indicating such items were “any product containing or consisting of cannabidiol,” Merelle told the committee. It allowed for processors to use CBD “in their products to enhance the CBD content,” she said, and the compound could be “lawfully produced by or purchased from a licensed producer or processor” or bought “from a source that is not licensed” in the state, provided:
      • “The CBD has a THC level of 0.3% or less on a dry weight basis.”
      • “The CBD has been tested for contaminants and toxins by a testing lab” in the state “in accordance with established testing standards.”
    • According to Merelle, the bill also authorized “rulemaking authority” for Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) staff to implement the legislation should it become law.
    • Hours before the hearing, a revised fiscal note was released showing savings for the WSLCB under the substitute language.
      • The first fiscal note predicted a cost of $247,547 in fiscal year (FY) 2019, and $388,494 in the 2019-21 and 2021-23 legislative bienniums. The second note anticipated $174,812 in FY 2019, with $238,754 being spent in each of the following two bienniums. WSLCB staff preparing the revised note identified the change as being due to no longer requiring agency officials “to explicitly approve CBD products for use by marijuana producers and processors. This had a workload impact of 1 FTE Program Specialist 2, which is no longer needed as the provision was eliminated.” 
  • HB 2334 sponsor Representative David Sawyer took a minute to introduce the proposal, but no public testimony was offered during the hearing (audio - 1m, video).
    • Sawyer said adults going into legal cannabis retailers were “thinking that they have tested products.” He stated that cannabis licensees and regulators had already invested “a lot of time and effort to make sure that we are testing our products.” However, “we are not, entirely” testing items, Sawyer asserted, as CBD was “totally untested” when it came into the legal cannabis system as an additive. The legislation ensured “that we are taking care of the public health and safety,” he concluded.

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