The Week Ahead
(September 2, 2019)

The week before Labor Day, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) shared their preliminary work towards greater social equity in the cannabis marketplace, sustainability for smaller producers, and medical cannabis patient welfare. However, the agency chose not to share its efforts via official public channels so we’ve gathered it for you here.

On Tuesday August 27th, literally as the Board was discussing how to assist smaller operators, WSLCB Director of Legislative Relations Chris Thompson emailed a conceptual description of potential agency request legislation to an expansive list of 50 cannabis stakeholders both inside and outside of state government. Thank you to the Cannabis Observer subscribers who forwarded that information to us; we immediately followed up to ask to be added to Thompson’s personal email list.

Later that afternoon, the internationally syndicated Associated Press published an interview with WSLCB Director Rick Garza which provided additional details about potential agency rulemaking to expand tier 1 producer canopy:

Even more significantly for the smallest growers, the board wants to allow them to expand, first to 5,000 square feet (465 square meters) and then possibly to 8,000 square feet (743 square meters). Those producers have long complained the tier-one licenses, designed to ensure craft growers have a place in the market, are so restrictive that they can’t succeed. Though they must make similar investments in security, insurance and product tracking as the largest growers, they are allowed to grow and sell only tiny fraction [sic] of what the largest growers produce.

On Thursday August 29th, Thompson followed up with draft bill language which the Office of the Code Reviser provisionally described as “Allowing additional marijuana retail licenses for social equity purposes” and “Allowing certain marijuana producers to engage in the sale of marijuana.” Thompson emailed the potential bill language to an expanded list of 54 stakeholders.

To the agency’s and Thompson’s credit, there is no regulatory requirement that executive agencies solicit feedback on potential agency request legislation – although Thompson hints the Governor’s Office may have a policy to that effect as any agency request legislation “package must include draft bill language, fiscal notes, and various additional background information, including the perspectives of stakeholders.” Thompson has requested feedback “whether good, bad or indifferent” before Thursday September 5th and can be reached at chris.thompson@lcb.wa.gov. Please consider asking him to add Cannabis Observer to his list of cannabis stakeholders so we can continue to keep you well informed as we look to the week ahead.

TUESDAY: On Tuesday September 3rd, the weekly WSLCB Board Caucus has been canceled.

WEDNESDAY: On Wednesday September 4th, the bi-weekly WSLCB Board Meeting has been canceled.

On Wednesday September 4th at 1:30pm PT @ WSLCB, the three-member Board and agency leadership convene their weekly Executive Management Team (EMT) meeting [ agenda ].

THURSDAY: On Thursday September 5th at 10am PT @ WSLCB, the bi-weekly Marijuana Traceability Project (MTP) Integrator Work Session recurs. This is not a formal public meeting, but is open to interested parties.

Before Thursday September 5th, WSLCB Director of Legislative Relations Chris Thompson has requested feedback on potential agency request legislation intended to increase social equity in the cannabis marketplace, enhance sustainability for smaller producers, and boost medical cannabis patient welfare.

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