WA Legislature - Update
(February 16, 2023)

WA Legislature - Update (Feb 16, 2023) - Takeaways

The WRAP Act was further unwrapped, fiscal committee schedules for the following week were announced, and the House cannabis policy committee had a full agenda ahead of the Friday cutoff.

Here are some observations of the Washington State Legislature (WA Legislature) for Thursday February 16th, the 39th day of the 2023 Regular Session.

My top 3 takeaways:

  • The Washington State House Appropriations Committee (WA House APP) convened and heard HB 1131, “Improving Washington's solid waste management outcomes.”
    • Provisions unique to the cannabis sector had been included in what was termed the Washington Recycling and Packaging Act (the WRAP Act): voluminous, ambitious, and perennial legislation which would otherwise impact a wide variety of stakeholders many of whom strongly opposed the bill or sought industry-specific carve outs.
    • Of 36 individuals signed up to testify, only one spoke to the cannabis provisions. Ezra Eickmeyer, representing both Producers Northwest and Terramer, supported the legislation.
    • Positions (testifying + not testifying - duplicates = total)
      • PRO: 10 + 1685 - 118 = 1577
      • CON: 16 + 28 - 1 = 43
      • OTHER: 10 + 8 = 18
  • Committee meeting schedules for the following week were announced reflecting the shift in activity to fiscal committees in both chambers and the uncertainty remaining as bills were crowded towards the house of origin policy committee gateway on Friday.
    • In the Senate, the Ways and Means Committee (WA Senate WM) was the sole fiscal committee and members did not declare their intention to take action on any particular bills - but planned to meet every day next week.
    • In the House, the members of WA House APP also planned to meet every weekday but only listed bills planned for activity on Monday. The Finance Committee (WA House FIN) declared their schedules inclusive of the only cannabis bill referred to them.
  • On Thursday February 16th, members of the Washington State House Regulated Substances and Gaming Committee (WA House RSG) would convene to take executive action on three cannabis bills and host a very late hearing on the very late House version of the social equity bill.
    • HB 1614 - "Concerning the home cultivation of cannabis."
    • HB 1650 - "Requiring voter approval for local government prohibitions on cannabis businesses."
      • Heard on January 31st, the bill by Co-Chair Sharon Wylie had no amendments at publication time.
    • HB 1822 - “Concerning complimentary products provided by short-term rental operators to guests.”
    • HB 1790 - “Expanding and improving the social equity in cannabis program.”
      • This bill was introduced by Representative Debra Entenman on February 7th to mirror the substitute version of the Senate legislation requested by WSLCB, SB 5080, which had already been amended and referred by WA Senate LC members.
        • The Senate bill was further heard by its fiscal committee on Monday February 13th and the bills remained identical at publication time.
      • While it was entirely possible that WA House RSG members could both hear the bill and host an executive session during the same meeting, the latter activity was not specified on the agenda and the committee was not scheduled to convene on Friday ahead of the house of origin policy committee cutoff.