WA Legislature - Update
(April 11, 2023)

WA Legislature - Update (April 11, 2023) - Takeaways

Most active cannabis legislation was through the final cutoff or on its way after four more cannabis bills were pulled out of rules and the social equity bill was passed by the House.

Here are some observations of the Washington State Legislature (WA Legislature) for Tuesday April 11th, the 93rd day of the 2023 Regular Session.

My top 4 takeaways:

  • Also on Monday, leadership of the Washington State House of Representatives (WA House) included the WSLCB request legislation seeking subpoena authority for cannabis investigations in a package of bills pulled from the Washington State House Rules Committee (WA House RUL).
    • In a fiscal note published on April 3rd, WSLCB staff anticipated “No fiscal impact. Board subpoenas issued in current areas is limited so any impact to workload from this bill is expected to be minimal. In addition, officers already receive the outlined training and many of the required actions listed are already done by officers before requesting a subpoena. Due to the limited number of subpoenas issued during a year, the additional reporting requirement can be met by existing staff.”
    • During the WSLCB Board Caucus on Tuesday April 4th, Chair David Postman had to inquire about the status of SB 5405. Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Webster indicated agency staff “had some thinking to do about what the best path forward is on that one” as their Assistant Attorneys General (AAGs) as well as the “Enforcement and Education division is not really happy with where it is” (audio - 2m, video).
    • Later on Monday afternoon, Representative Greg Cheney proposed amendment CLOD 259, which “Specifies that, in order to serve a subpoena, an enforcement officer of the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) must have successfully completed the basic law enforcement academy of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (WSCJTC) or an equivalent basic law enforcement academy, instead of specifying that an enforcement officer of the LCB must have graduated from the WSCJTC.”
    • At publication time, time was running out for two cannabis bills which remained in WA House RUL:
      • SB 5340 - “Regarding limits on the sale and possession of retail cannabis products.”
      • SB 5363 - “Concerning cannabis retailer advertising.”
  • On Monday evening, representatives brought SB 5080, the social equity bill, up for its second and third readings but did not accept any additional changes before passing the bill as amended by the House policy committee.
  • On Tuesday April 11th, both chambers planned a day of floor sessions but representatives would start a little later after working past midnight to continue moving legislation ahead of the opposite house cutoff gateway on Wednesday April 12th.
    • The Washington State Senate planned to convene at 9am on Tuesday.
      • At publication time, two cannabis bills were available to senators for concurrence with House changes:
        • SB 5123 - “Concerning the employment of individuals who lawfully consume cannabis.”
        • SB 5367 - “Concerning the regulation of products containing THC.” 
      • Two cannabis bills were available for second and third readings on the regular calendar:
        • HB 1563 - “Concerning arrest protections for the medical use of cannabis.”
        • HB 1772 - “Prohibiting products that combine alcohol and tetrahydrocannabinol.”
      • And one gubernatorial appointment was available on the confirmation calendar:
        • SGA 9317 - “James R. Vollendroff, Member, Liquor and Cannabis Board”
    • After working late on Monday night, Representatives postponed their planned start time and planned to reconvene on Tuesday April 11th at 10am PT.
      • At publication time, one cannabis bill was available to representatives for concurrence with Senate changes:
        • HB 1066 - “Making technical corrections and removing obsolete language from the Revised Code of Washington pursuant to RCW 1.08.025.”
      • And two cannabis bills were available on the House floor calendar:
        • SB 5069 - “Allowing interstate cannabis agreements.”
        • SB 5405 - “Modifying the liquor and cannabis board's subpoena authority.”
    • Wednesday April 12th at 5pm would occasion the opposite house cutoff, the final gateway before the end of the regular session, described as the “Last day to consider (pass) opposite house bills (5 p.m.) (except initiatives and alternatives to initiatives, budgets and matters necessary to implement budgets, differences between the houses, and matters incident to the interim and closing of the session).”