WA Legislature - Update
(March 24, 2023)

WA Legislature - Update (March 24, 2023) - Takeaways

Interstate commerce was recommended out of committee, no action was taken on the commission bill, and the public received a first look at the Senate operating budget proposal.

Here are some observations of the Washington State Legislature (WA Legislature) for Friday March 24th, the 75th day of the 2023 Regular Session.

My top 3 takeaways:

  • During the Washington State House Regulated Substances and Gaming Committee (WA House RSG) meeting on Thursday March 23rd, members recommended the interstate commerce bill without amendment but leadership opted not to bring the cannabis commission bill up for a vote.
    • SB 5069 - “Allowing interstate cannabis agreements.”
      • Co-Chair Sharon Wylie withdrew her amendment on social equity principles and notification requirements despite having earlier successfully attached the same language to the companion legislation, HB 1159. Wylie indicated she had been subsequently told the amendment “may not be necessary.”
      • The committee voted to recommend the legislation to their peers with the exceptions of Representatives Eric Robertson and Jim Walsh who voted against passage without recommendation, and Representative Greg Cheney who was absent and excused.
    • SB 5546 - “Establishing a Washington state cannabis commission.” 
      • During the public hearing on Tuesday March 21st, testimony on the legislation to set up a framework for the creation and operation of a cannabis commodity commission revealed disagreements over the body’s potential value. Supporters emphasized the bill gave licensed producers the power to decide for themselves while opponents feared more “taxation” and alleged the advocates hadn’t conducted sufficient outreach.
      • After receiving the staff briefing which confirmed no amendments had been offered on the bill, committee leadership returned from caucus and skipped over the planned executive session. Co-Chair Shelley Kloba simply stated, “we are not going to take any action on ESSB 5546, today” (audio < 1m, video).
      • At publication time, the legislation had not been rescheduled for executive session at either of the committee’s two remaining meetings on Monday March 27th or Tuesday March 28th ahead of the opposite house policy committee cutoff on Wednesday March 29th.