The Board received a quarterly rules update and discussed how best to prioritize agency work.
Here are some observations from the Wednesday July 25th Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) Executive Management Team meeting.
My top 3 takeaways:
- Quarterly Rules updates were provided by WSLCB Policy and Rules Coordinator Joanna Eide (transcript, audio).
- Eide encouraged outreach to licensees to get a head start switching to the new packaging and labelling rules which go into effect January 1, 2019 (transcript, audio).
- The target effective date for new retail license forfeiture rules is December 1, 2018 (transcript, audio).
- The target effective date for new CBD additive rules is October 31, 2018 (transcript, audio).
- Retail License Title Certificate rules for retail licenses in restricted, banned, or moratorium jurisdictions are currently established through a Board Interim Policy and will be formally implemented by October 31 or November 14, 2018 (transcript, audio).
- Processors will be notified that edibles products sprayed with THC do not meet homogenization standards (transcript, audio).
- The LCB is seeking greater input from cannabis industry stakeholders (transcript, audio).
- WSLCB Deputy Director Pat Kohler found it “interesting and also odd” that there wasn’t much licensee participation at the last Traceability Advisory Committee. She noted two organizations with representatives, The Cannabis Alliance and WACA.
- WSLCB Board Member Ollie Garrett suggested that the Board could improve trade organization and unaffiliated licensee outreach efforts to improve participation, given their understanding that approximately 10% of licensees are members of cannabis trade associations.
- WSLCB Director Rick Garza informed the Board that the two organizations that are participating regularly, WACA and the Alliance, had 50 and 40 licensee members, respectively, according to information shared with the WSLCB by WACA Executive Director and Lobbyist Vicki Christopherson.
- The Alliance has 110 licensee members, according to Executive Director Lara Kaminsky.
- WSLCB Communications Director Brian Smith noted that the Traceability Advisory Committee “historically, had a full representation, or at least there were people that would attend that. And, over time, people either just dropped out of it, or they are no longer participating in that organization.”
- The LCB plans to “rekindle” the Tribal Advisory Council, to be chaired by WSLCB Board Member Russ Hauge (transcript, audio).
- The Board and Staff are identifying priorities given the amount of work to do (transcript, audio).
- Garza states that there’s a lot of work to be done: “… there’s so much that needs to be done, I almost want to call it maybe somebody called it a reboot. Not only with traceability, with the SMP, these are not products that we’re accustomed to as an agency, so it’s not difficult to assume that we were gonna have some failure in it, but we should’ve learned from them.”
- Garza sees the need for resources from the State to increase staffing considerably “in order to really feel comfortable that we have a compliant industry.”
- Garza identified traceability vendor accountability as a significant priority: “Pat, when you talked about traceability, our staff is doing a heck of a lot of work that I really think the vendor should’ve been providing. So holding that vendor accountable, and making some decisions about whether we move forward with them or not, is getting to the bottom line.”
- Garza identified Systems Modernization as a significant priority: “… our systems are too old. They fail, we’re always putting bandaids on it. Don’t forget that this system is 40 years old that we’re working on today. And we just keep using [Information Technology (IT)] to, to strap it back up, but we need a new system …”
- Kohler asked the Board to clarify specific priorities, given how much input she absorbed in her first week on the job: “And there’s a lot on my board already in one week, and so, one of the things that I wanted to talk to Rick about is looking at, how can we bring in stronger governance to actually really prioritize what we’re gonna work on, cause we’re, we’re picking up so many different things, so it would make sure, good to make sure that we’re in line with what [the WSLCB Board’s] priorities are” (transcript, audio).
- WSLCB Chair Jane Rushford identified medical marijuana rules reform as a significant priority: “… I can share with you that one in particular is we want to dive more deeply into the medical marijuana situation” (transcript, audio).