The Week Ahead
(February 24, 2020)

Here’s a look at cannabis-related policymaking events on Cannabis Observer’s calendars in the week ahead.

Monday February 24th

On Monday at 10am PT, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) Voluntary Compliance Program Work Group was scheduled to meet.

On Monday at 1pm PT, the WSLCB Traceability 2.0 Work Group was scheduled to convene.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The WSLCB Traceability 2.0 external work group has become the locus of conversation between the agency and licensees about the future of cannabis supply chain transparency in Washington state. The group has met four times since the fall, most recently on January 24th.
  • In addition to reviewing a new WSLCB draft of a producer traceability workflow, the group will discuss recommendations from a Harvest Subcommittee of producers and their representatives which met in the interim to document aspects of producer harvest workflows which are made more difficult by traceability requirements. The subcommittee offered three major recommendations to the work group and WSLCB:
    • Do not require tagging and tracking individual plants
    • Do not require reporting harvest wet weights
    • Adopt a systems-based approach to validating producer workflows

On Monday at 1:30pm PT, the Washington State House Commerce and Gaming Committee (WA House COG) was scheduled to convene a committee meeting.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • Following the Senate passage of SB 6057 (the “wholesale discounts” bill) and SB 6206 (the “location compliance” bill) during an evening session on Tuesday February 18th, both bills were read in the House and referred to WA House COG. The committee starts the week by hosting public hearings for both bills.

Tuesday February 25th

On Tuesday at 8am PT, the Washington State Senate Labor and Commerce Committee (WA Senate LBRC) was scheduled to convene a committee meeting in the morning.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • Following the House passage of HB 2826 (WSLCB’s THC vapor products bill) and HB 2870 (WSLCB’s social equity program), both bills were read in the Senate and referred to WA Senate LBRC.  The committee starts the week by hosting public hearings for both bills.

On Tuesday at 10am PT, the weekly WSLCB Board Caucus was scheduled to recur.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The Board intended to host their somewhat annual Planning Meeting on Tuesday, wherein members review the past year and set priorities for the following year. At their last Board Planning Meeting in July 2018, the Board set four priorities which they will review on Tuesday:
    • Medical Cannabis
    • Helping Businesses Succeed
    • Consistency of Enforcement Practices
    • Inclusion in Re-Issuing Retail Licenses

On Tuesday at 12pm PT, WA Senate LBRC was scheduled to convene a committee meeting in the afternoon.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • Committee members planned to reconvene on Tuesday to host executive sessions on HB 2826 and HB 2870 to expeditiously move those bills along to their Senate fiscal committee hearings.

On Tuesday at 3:30pm PT, WA House COG was scheduled to convene a committee meeting.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • Committee members planned to reconvene on Tuesday to host executive sessions on SB 6057 and SB 6206 to expeditiously move those bills along. Those bills will likely once again bypass consideration by a fiscal committee and be referred back to the Washington State House Rules Committee (WA House RUL).

On Tuesday at 3:30pm PT, the Washington State House Public Safety Committee (WA House PS) was scheduled to convene a committee meeting.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • Following the Senate passage of SB 5867 (Resentencing of persons convicted of drug offenses.”) late on Tuesday night February 18th, the bill was read in the House and referred to WA House PS. The Committee planned to grant the bill a public hearing.

Wednesday February 26th

On Wednesday at 1:30pm PT, the three-member Board and agency leadership convene their weekly WSLCB Executive Management Team (EMT) meeting.

Thursday February 27th

On Thursday at 8am PT, WA House PS was scheduled to convene a committee meeting.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • Committee members planned to reconvene on Thursday to host an executive session on SB 5867 to move that bill along. The bill, which includes a fiscal note declaring “Non-zero but indeterminate cost and/or savings” for both the Administrative Office of the Courts and Department of Corrections, was not considered by a fiscal committee in the Senate.

On Thursday at 10am PT, the bi-weekly WSLCB Integrator Work Session was scheduled to recur.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The third-party software providers who provide interfaces to MJ Freeway’s Leaf Data Systems continue to meet bi-weekly to discuss the status of open and new issues with Washington’s traceability platform. Discussion will center on the latest workarounds for the bug referred to as LW-5208, a persistent issue created with the deployment of release 1.37.5 in July 2019 which continues to cause some licensees to have to reset their API keys daily, while others have Leaf user accounts “soft-deleted,” and others experience issues when assuming a license. The vendor has been unable—or unwilling—to identify the root cause of these issues for over six months.
  • Last year, in response to legal and security concerns, the WSLCB convened a Data Sharing Agreement Work Group to help review a new legal agreement (September draft) between the agency and the traceability software integrators. This meeting will cover the first set of new requirements the agency is asking of all parties which edit data in Leaf or any future traceability system.

Friday February 28th

Friday is the Washington State Legislature Opposite House Policy Committee Cutoff.

  • The 2020 session cutoff calendar describes this checkpoint as the “[l]ast day to read in committee reports (pass bills out of committee and read them into the record on the floor) from opposite house, except House fiscal committees and Senate Ways & Means and Transportation committees.
  • At publication time, Cannabis Observer was tracking seven cannabis-related bills which had yet to be considered by their policy committees in the opposite chamber.
    • HB 2359 / SB 6206“Creating a certificate of compliance for marijuana business premises that meet the statutory qualifications at the time of application.” The “location compliance” bills were the only pair of companion bills to make it through their respective chambers. At publication time, HB 2359 had not been scheduled for a public hearing in WA Senate LBRC.
    • HB 2826“Clarifying the authority of the liquor and cannabis board to regulate marijuana vapor products.”
    • HB 2870“Allowing additional marijuana retail licenses for social equity purposes.”
    • SB 5867“Resentencing of persons convicted of drug offenses.”
    • SB 6057“Concerning price differentials in the sale of marijuana.”
    • SB 6254“Protecting public health and safety by enhancing the regulation of vapor products.” The first “zombie bill” of the session, the Governor’s non-THC vapor products bill was heard in the Washington State Senate Ways and Means Committee (WA Senate WM) on February 20th, defying the house of origin cutoff on February 19th. Senators on the fiscal committee heard testimony on the bill, which would institute a more restrictive and expansive flavored vapor products ban than what is being pursued at the federal level, for over an hour (video). Given the large projected fiscal costs of the bill, it may be considered “necessary to implement the budget” (NTIB), one of the informal mechanisms the legislature uses to provide privileged treatment for particular bills. At publication time, SB 6254 had yet to be scheduled for an executive session in WA Senate WM.

On Friday at 12pm PT, the Cannabis Observer Legislative Meetup was scheduled to recur.