Here’s a look at the week ahead.
WEDNESDAY: On Wednesday October 2nd at 10am PT @ WSLCB, the bi-weekly Board Meeting recurs [ agenda, webinar ]. At the last Board Meeting on September 18th, WSLCB Cannabis Policy and Rules Coordinator Kathy Hoffman signaled the agency’s intention to modify vapor product regulation through an open rulemaking project in response to concerns raised following a rash of correlated health impacts attributed to vaping. She will present the CR-102 defining proposed rules for the Vapor Products rulemaking project to the Board for adoption on Wednesday, opening up the next stage of public comment prior to a public hearing.
The timeliness and urgency associated with the WSLCB’s Vapor Products rulemaking project received a boost from Governor Jay Inslee last week. On Friday September 27th, an announcement hinted at earlier by WSLCB Director Rick Garza was delivered during a forty-minute press conference hosted in Seattle [ video – TVW, video – MP4 ]. Executive Order 19-03, “ADDRESSING THE VAPING USE PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS,” instructed the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board to undertake particular actions, some of which leave considerable room for interpretation. The Washington State Board of Health was instructed to issue an “Emergency Rule…to impose a ban on all flavored vapor products, including flavored THC vapor products, at the Board’s next meeting on October 9.” The rather challenging list of criteria the nine current members of DOH’s Board will be required to parse to define “flavor” and “vapor products” is a formidable task likely to upset impacted constituencies, create unpredictable economic repercussions throughout both the vapor and cannabis supply chains, and generate unintended consequences for the public’s health if consumers are driven to unregulated marketplaces as a result of a new prohibition on products that have been legally accessible for years.
Later on Friday afternoon, WSLCB followed up with an announcement to their stakeholders. As of September 24th, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported “805…lung injury cases associated with the use of e-cigarette or vaping products have been reported to CDC from the following states and 1 U.S. territory” and “Twelve deaths have been confirmed in California (2), Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas (2), Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, and Oregon.” As of September 25th, DOH had confirmed seven cases across the entire state of Washington, less than one percent of the total observed cases nationwide.
On Wednesday October 2nd, the weekly WSLCB Executive Management Team (EMT) meeting has been canceled.
THURSDAY: On Thursday October 3rd 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.
On Thursday October 3rd at 1pm PT @ WSLCB, the Cannabis Potency Tax Work Group convenes for the second of four planned meetings [ agenda ]. The work group first convened on August 22nd to address a legislative request for recommendations about “varying the marijuana excise tax rate based on product potency.”