The Week Ahead
(October 21, 2019)

On Wednesday, an uncharacteristic Special Board Meeting has been called to adopt potentially five new emergency rules to implement the “flavored vapor products” prohibition.

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

Monday October 21st

On Monday at 2pm PT @ WSLCB, the Marijuana Traceability Project (MTP) Data Sharing Agreement external work group convenes for its fourth and final scheduled meeting.

  • This small stakeholder work group is vetting a proposed legal agreement between the WSLCB and third-party software providers who handle traceability data. As the State does not license third-party software providers, yet those software providers in some cases modify data owned by the State, the WSLCB has decided a legal agreement is necessary to define expectations and remedies. At the last meeting on October 7th, the group revised the penalty structure. On Monday, the group planned to review the agency’s internal and external organizational change management (OCM) plan.

Tuesday October 22nd

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

On Tuesday @ WSLCB, the True Party of Interest (TPI) external work group convenes.

  • This meeting was mentioned by WSLCB Cannabis Policy and Rules Coordinator Kathy Hoffman during her rulemaking update at the October 16th Board Meeting. The group previously met on August 12th—a meeting Board Member Russ Hauge attended and described at the August 13th Board Caucus—and more recently on September 18th. Cannabis Observer does not have direct visibility into this work group nor its activities.

Wednesday October 23rd

On Wednesday at 10am PT @ WSLCB, a Special Board Meeting was planned outside of the usual bi-weekly cadence.

  • One of the primary purposes for the uncharacteristic public meeting will be to move the agency’s many open rulemaking projects forward and issue additional emergency rules to implement the Governor’s prohibition against “flavored vapor products.”
  • Hoffman first mentioned additional emergency rulemaking during the October 16th Board Caucus, indicating a need to empower the agency to enforce the Washington State Board of Health’s (SBOH) emergency rules as well as define “summary license suspensions and petitions for stay” for non-THC vapor product licensees.
  • At the time, Hoffman estimated drafting a total of five new emergency rules for adoption at the October 23rd meeting.

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

Thursday October 24th

On Thursday at 10:30am PT @ WSLCB, the Traceability 2.0 external work group convenes for its second meeting.

  • The first meeting of the Traceability 2.0 work group occurred on September 24th. WSLCB Deputy Director Megan Duffy described the work group and its activity as part of her traceability IT project update at the October 16th Executive Management Team public meeting.
  • During the first meeting of the external work group, the agency stated its primary goal for any system of cannabis product traceability was ensuring public safety. The public health emergency asserted by the Office of the Governor and reinforced by the SBOH and WSLCB may eventually necessitate formal product recalls. At publication time, the agency had never required a cannabis licensee to implement a product recall, only suggested 16 voluntary product recalls (75% of which had occurred in 2019).
  • With the adoption of the Vapor Product Disclosure emergency rules on October 16th, the agency hoped to gain ingredient-level visibility and hardware details for cannabis vapor products in the supply chain. But that information would not be digitized to begin with and would not be tied to higher-level traceability data housed in Leaf Data Systems, the State’s beleaguered seed-to-sale traceability system engineered by MJ Freeway. Should cause(s) for the vaping associated lung injuries observed nationwide be identified, the agency would be challenged to respond in a timely manner.
    • As of October 15th, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported “1,479…lung injury cases…from 49 states (all except Alaska), the District of Columbia, and 1 U.S. territory” and “Thirty-three deaths…in 24 states.”
    • As of October 16th, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) reported 12 confirmed cases dating back to April 2019.