WA House APP - Committee Meeting
(February 6, 2018) - HB 2334 - Executive Session

Nickel and Dimed - HB 2334 - SB 5130

An $81 annual fee collected from each cannabis licensee was assessed to pay for oversight of imported CBD additives before committee members recommended the bill for passage.

Here are some observations from the Tuesday February 6th, 2018 Washington State House Appropriations Committee (WA House APP) Committee Meeting.

My top 2 takeaways:

  • Representative David Sawyer presented a licensing fee amendment on legislation he sponsored establishing regulations around use of cannabidiol (CBD) as a cannabis product additive.
    • 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) whose members subsequently recommended passage of a substitute version of the bill on January 15th. WA House APP hosted a public hearing on the bill on February 1st.
    • Vice Chair June Robinson moved for HB 2334 to be recommended for passage by the committee (audio - <1m, video).
    • Sawyer, the legislation’s prime sponsor, offered an amendment to the bill that Increases the annual fee for issuance and renewal of licenses for marijuana producers, processors and retailers from $1300.00 to $1381.00, beginning July 1, 2018” (audio - <1m, video).
      • Sawyer stated that the fee increase on licensees paid “for the underlying policy” and asked for support from members (audio - <1m, video).
      • Representative Cary Condotta offered his opposition to the amendment, noting, “we’re adding a fee to every single player” including licensees opposed to the practice (audio - <1m, video).
    • The amendment was passed with a divided vote (audio - <1m, video).
      • Earlier in this meeting, Sawyer offered a similar amendment on HB 2227, legislation pertaining to cannabis testing laboratories. That amendment increased annual fees for producer, processor, and retail cannabis licensees by $86. The amended bill was not subsequently taken up by the House.
  • Following some remarks from members, the majority of the committee voted to recommend passage of the bill.
    • A motion to recommend passage of the amended bill was made (audio - <1m, video).
    • Sawyer claimed regulators were “doing a lot of laboratory testing” on products with CBD additives and had worked with stakeholders on a solution to “this problem we have of some CBD products being used in our market.” He believed consumers had an inaccurate impression about oversight of CBD additives, “so we are forcing that to be tested” (audio - 1m, video).
    • Condotta reported that the addition of the licensing fee to the bill cost his vote since a “substantial fee” increase had been approved in 2017 under SB 5130 “for a tracking system, which by the way, is not currently working.” He considered the “stacking of these fees” to have gotten “a little bit tall,” leading him to oppose the legislation “until we can figure out how to finance it” (audio - 2m, video):
      • The October 2017 planned launch of MJ Freeway Leaf Data Systems was delayed multiple times until it became minimally viable in February 2018. At publication time, cannabis licensees were still assessed the additional $300 annual fee imposed by SB 5130 and the additional $81 annual fee imposed by HB 2334.
    • The following Republican committee members voted against the bill:
      • Assistant Ranking Minority Member Drew MacEwen
      • Assistant Ranking Minority Member Drew Stokesbary
      • Representative Michelle Caldier
      • Representative Cary Condotta
      • Representative Paul Graves
      • Representative Larry Haler
      • Representative Paul Harris 
      • Representative Joe Schmick
      • Representative David Taylor
      • Representative Brandon Vick
      • Representative Mike Volz
    • WA House APP Chair Timm Ormsby confirmed passage of the amended HB 2334, which would be brought to the floor of WA House for debate and a vote on March 6th, 2018.
      • HB 2334 was recommended on the last day for legislation to be considered by a fiscal committee in its house of origin during the 2018 session.
      • However, bills privileged by legislative leadership as “necessary to implement the budget” (NTIB) may be moved at any time.

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