WA Legislature - Update
(March 23, 2023)

WA Legislature - Update (March 23, 2023) - Takeaways

Time was running out for five remaining cannabis bills which had been heard but not moved by their policy committees - but all five had executive sessions scheduled ahead of the next cutoff.

Here are some observations of the Washington State Legislature (WA Legislature) for Thursday March 23rd, the 74th day of the 2023 Regular Session.

My top 3 takeaways:

  • Also on Wednesday, Washington State legislative staff published preliminary committee meeting schedules for the following week announcing planned actions ahead of the opposite house policy committee cutoff on Wednesday March 29th.
    • On Monday March 27th at 10:30am PT, the Washington State Senate Labor and Commerce Committee (WA Senate LC) planned to convene to consider moving legislation to provide equal protection from unlawful arrest to all authorized patients - the last cannabis bill remaining in their committee.
      • HB 1563 - “Concerning arrest protections for the medical use of cannabis.”
        • The legislation had an executive session initially scheduled for Thursday March 23rd which was rescheduled for Tuesday March 21st. No action was taken on Tuesday after committee leadership decided the bill needed additional work.
        • At the conclusion of the meeting on Tuesday, Committee Chair Karen Keiser said members were planning "very long" executive sessions on Thursday and Monday, and hoped to not have to meet after that prior to the cutoff on Wednesday March 29th. The initial schedule for the following week included a placeholder for a committee meeting on Tuesday with no bills assigned, so Monday may very well be the last opportunity for HB 1563 to be moved.
    • On Monday March 27th at 1:30pm PT, the Washington State House Regulated Substances and Gaming Committee (WA House RSG) planned to convene and consider moving the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) request legislation granting subpoena authority in cannabis investigations.
    • On Tuesday March 28th at 4pm PT, the WA House RSG planned to convene one last time to consider moving legislation to grant local control over the physical dimensions of retail signage.
      • SB 5363 - “Concerning cannabis retailer advertising.”
        • The bill had been scheduled to be heard at the committee Thursday March 23rd meeting, but was removed the day prior and rescheduled for Tuesday.
        • There was no clear indication of potential amendments during the public hearing on Tuesday March 21st, though Representative Kristine Reeves did dig into distinctions between digital and physical media (audio - 2m, video).
    • Following the policy committee cutoff on Wednesday March 29th, fiscal committees would quickly take up relevant bills as their members had been granted less than a week to consider legislation ahead of the opposite house fiscal committee cutoff on Tuesday April 4th.
  • On Thursday March 23rd, the primary House cannabis policy committee planned to meet to consider moving the interstate commerce and cannabis commission bills.
    • Both bills were heard in committee on Tuesday March 21st.
    • SB 5069 - “Allowing interstate cannabis agreements.”
      • Wylie planned to propose amendment H-1705.1 which was described as having the following effects:
        • (1) Requires the coordination and enforcement of plans and actions related to interstate cannabis agreements to be consistent with Washington's policies and programs to redress inequities that exist from past cannabis prohibition and drug enforcement laws and to include steps to ensure equity in the application of agreements at all levels and in all jurisdictions that may interact with the licensed and unlicensed production and sale of cannabis.
        • (2) Requires the Liquor and Cannabis Board to provide notice of the effective date of the bill's authorization for the Governor to enter into agreements with other states concerning crossjurisdictional cannabis activities to all cannabis licensees and pending applicants, and to inform them of how they may continue to be notified of activities and changes and proposed changes to laws and rules related to interstate cannabis agreements.
      • The amendment was identical to language Wylie successfully proposed adding to the companion legislation, HB 1159.
    • SB 5546 - “Establishing a Washington state cannabis commission.”
      • At publication time, there were no published amendments.