A last-minute hearing on a repackaged bill to regulate synthesized cannabinoids revealed shared public health concerns but testimony otherwise remained just as sharply divided.
Two visions for the future of cannabinoid regulation were presented to senators, with testimony split between a measure developed by WACA members and WSLCB request legislation.
Sharply divided testimony on a bill to add more members and non-voting legislators to the WSLCB board suggested the idea was controversial in both the cannabis and alcohol sectors.
Testimony on a craft cannabis endorsement was weighted in favor of those who saw the proposal increasing fairness in the cannabis market, but others were not so sure.
Some licensees, WSLCB staff, and prevention advocates encouraged lawmakers to pass request legislation on cannabinoid regulation, while other licensees preferred a competing bill.
A majority of speakers favored legislation to create a cannabis commodity commission, but questions remained about costs, goals, and the inclusiveness with which the bill was drafted.
In their final meeting of 2021, board members discussed a recent ride-along, a legislative proposal to overhaul the board from a cannabis trade association, and “collateral enforcement.”
Three senators offered their thoughts around cannabis policy and answered specific questions about potential bill subjects as well as the format of the 2022 legislative session.
A cannabis researcher from WSU went over academic developments around safety, economic development, health, and agriculture before answering attendee questions.
Director Rick Garza shared some observations with attendees, focusing on vertical integration, cannabinoid regulation, medical cannabis, and social equity before taking questions.