The Week Ahead
(November 18, 2019)

It’s an unusually busy week with four legislative committee work sessions, more emergency rulemaking by the State Board of Health, and a WSLCB work group on top of regular meetings.

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

It’s an unusually busy week for cannabis policymaking in the State, all largely beyond the purview of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB). Elected officials of the legislature converge in Olympia this week and host work sessions in preparation for the 2020 session; three of four relevant meetings address vapor products. And in Spokane, the Washington State Board of Health (SBOH) was poised to implement additional emergency rulemaking to prohibit a particular substance from both nicotine and cannabis vapor product supply chains.

Cannabis Observer has begun ramping up our team in preparation for what is shaping up to be a busy and transformative legislative session for cannabis policy in Washington state. Here are all the ways, large and small, you can support Cannabis Observer.

Monday November 18th

On Monday at 8:30am PT @ The Davenport Grand Hotel in Spokane, the Washington State Board of Health (SBOH) hosts its board meeting [ agenda, meeting materials ].

  • The full Board last convened on October 9th in SeaTac, where members implemented a prohibition against “flavored vapor products” in compliance with Governor Jay Inslee’s mandate.
  • On Monday, the Board was scheduled to hear an update on the vaping associated lung injury health scare and the impacts of chapter 246-80 WAC, the emergency rules adopted by the SBOH during their October meeting. The relevant agenda item was titled “Chapter 246-80 WAC, Vapor Products and Flavors – Implementation, Outbreak Investigation and Department of Health Recommendation” and scheduled to be taken up at 11:10am immediately following public comment.
  • During its review, the Board also planned to take up additional emergency rulemaking to ban vitamin E acetate from nicotine and cannabis vapor products [ draft emergency rule ]. The action would be in response to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcement on Friday November 8th that “Recent CDC laboratory testing of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid samples (or samples of fluid collected from the lungs) from 29 patients with EVALI submitted to CDC from 10 states found vitamin E acetate in all of the BAL fluid samples,” which the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) addressed later that day in coordination with the Department of Health.

Tuesday November 19th

On Tuesday at 10am PT @ WSLCB, the weekly Board Caucus recurs.

Also on Tuesday at 10am PT via webinar, the WSLCB Cannabis Potency Tax Work Group convenes for its fourth and final meeting.

  • The work group first met on August 22nd to take up a legislative charge to explore “varying the marijuana excise tax rate based on product potency.” The work group was assisted by BOTEC Analysis which produced a lengthy report, the executive summary of which will be appended to the work group’s output.
  • On Tuesday, the work group will review the draft report to the legislature written by WSLCB staff and provide feedback.
  • The executive summary of the draft report concludes, “…a change to a potency based tax would not be feasible at this time, despite some members being interested in the potential of the concept.”

Wednesday November 20th

On Wednesday, the weekly WSLCB Executive Management Team (EMT) meeting has been canceled.

On Wednesday at 1:30pm PT @ the Cherberg Building in Olympia, the Washington State Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee (HLTC) convenes in work session to hear, in part, an “Update on the public health impacts of vaping”  [ TVW, meeting materials ].

Thursday November 21st

On Thursday at 1:30pm PT @ the O’Brien Building in Olympia, the Washington State House of Representatives Commerce and Gaming Committee (COG) convenes in work session to hear specifically about “Vapor product policy, regulatory issues, and public health, safety, and societal impacts” [ TVW, meeting materials ].

Also on Thursday at 1:30pm PT @ the Cherberg Building in Olympia, the Washington State Senate Financial Institutions, Economic Development, and Trade Committee (FIET) convenes in work session to hear, in part, “Perspectives on current and future cannabis financial services offerings.” [ TVW, meeting materials ].

Friday November 22nd

On Friday at 10:00am PT @ the O’Brien Building in Olympia, the Washington State House of Representatives Finance Committee (FIN) convenes in work session to hear, in part, about “Implementation of E2SHB 1873 and impact of Governor’s Executive Order banning flavored vaping products” [ TVW, meeting materials ].