Washington State Legislature – Executive Actions
(May 17, 2019)

This will be our final update about 2019 cannabis legislation barring a significant change in either the state’s budget, or the convening of a special legislative session with implications for cannabis.

During the 2019 session, Cannabis Observer relied on the bill information pages on the Washington State Legislature’s website to track bill activity. While we observed a few minor delays on updates during session, we learned there can be substantial delays after executive action at the end of session. In conversation with the helpful staff at the Legislative Information Center, we learned the Office of the Secretary of State compiles enacted legislation into chapters of Session Law and sends that information to the Office of the Code Reviser which updates bill information pages. At the conclusion of each session, when the vast majority of bills make their way to the Governor’s desk, updates to the bill information pages are frequently delayed. We have modified our processes to rely on the Governor’s bill action screen as our primary source for tracking executive actions.

This is why last Friday we did not report HB 2052 had been signed into law on May 7th. Thank you to subscriber Jed Haney, Executive Director of The Laboratory Guild, for bringing that omission to our attention.

Here are some observations of the final six cannabis-related bills signed into law this session. All eleven cannabis-related bills passed by the legislature were signed into law without change or veto by the Governor.

  • HB 2052 – “Clarifying marijuana product testing by revising provisions concerning marijuana testing laboratory accreditation and establishing a cannabis science task force.”
  • HB 1792 – “Concerning criminal penalties applicable to licensed marijuana retailers and employees of marijuana retail outlets.”
    • See Cannabis Observer’s summaries of the committee report cutoff, opposite house cutoff, and sine die cutoff.
    • On Monday May 13th, Governor Inslee signed the legislation. It is awaiting placement in the 2019 Session Laws and assignment of a formal effective date by the Secretary of State (SOS). See the signing ceremony’s official photos and read the Bill as Passed Legislature.
    • The Governor described the bill as creating a “new offense” for budtenders selling to minors, saying it makes “the crime and punishment proportional to alcohol” sales to youth. He went on to thank the sponsor, Representative Eric Pettigrew for the “very well-reasoned bill” and the cannabis “industry leaders” “who are making our effort the most successful in the nation.” Pettigrew was unable to attend, but Senate President Pro Tempore Karen Keiser and Stanford were present (video).
    • A fiscal note for this bill was never produced, nor is there an appropriation for it in the proposed state budget.
  • HB 1794 – “Concerning agreements between licensed marijuana businesses and other people and businesses, including royalty and licensing agreements relating to the use of intellectual property.”
    • See Cannabis Observer’s summary of the committee report cutoff, opposite house cutoff, and sine die cutoff.
    • On Monday May 13th, Governor Inslee signed the bill. It is awaiting placement in the 2019 Session Laws and assignment of a formal effective date by the SOS. See the signing ceremony’s official photo and read the Bill as Passed Legislature.
    • Inslee explained the bill “sets clear standards” on intellectual property in the cannabis industry to “help small marijuana businesses in sharing brand names and technologies” comparable to other industries. Inslee thanked Stanford, the bill sponsor, for helping the cannabis sector “grow in a respectful way.” Keiser also attended (video).
    • The legislation will be funded from the Dedicated Marijuana Account in Section 143(4) of the recently passed budget with $23,000 in both FY 2020 and FY 2021. This is in line with the estimate for that time period in the bill’s final fiscal note.
  • SB 5298 – “Regarding labeling of marijuana products.”
    • See Cannabis Observer’s summaries of the committee report cutoff, opposite house cutoff, and sine die cutoff.
    • On Monday May 13th, Governor Inslee signed the bill. It joins Chapter 393 of the 2019 Session Laws with an effective date of January 1st, 2020. See the signing ceremony’s official photo and read the Bill as Passed Legislature and the Final Bill Report.
    • The Governor said the bill “allows additional information on labels of marijuana products” to enable product differentiation. He expressed gratitude to the bill’s backers, Senator Ann Rivers and Representative Sharon Wylie. Though neither sponsor attended, both Keiser and Stanford watched the signing (video).
    • The law’s distant effective date (January 1st, 2020) aligns with the effective date for WSLCB’s latest round of packaging and labeling rule changes.
    • WSLCB’s fiscal note projected no budget impact.
  • SB 5318 – “Reforming the compliance and enforcement provisions for marijuana licensees.”
    • See Cannabis Observer’s summaries of the committee report cutoff, opposite house cutoff, and sine die cutoff.
    • On Monday May 13th, Governor Inslee signed the bill. It joins Chapter 394 of the 2019 Session Laws with an effective date of July 28th. See the signing ceremony’s official photo and read the Bill as Passed Legislature and the Final Bill Report.
    • Before signing, Inslee said the bill would bring “consistency for marijuana business compliance and enforcement rules” and acknowledged that it would initiate new programs and rulemaking for WSLCB. He thanked Rivers and Representative Steve Kirby for championing the issue. While neither member could attend, Keiser, Stanford, and a large group of cannabis industry representatives joined to watch the signing (video).
    • The final fiscal note from WSLCB anticipated a cost to the agency of $1,312,917 between FY 2019-21. Section 143(5) of the adopted budget gave the agency $722,000 for FY 2020, and $591,000 for FY 2021, almost exactly the requested amount.
  • SB 5605 – “Concerning misdemeanor marijuana offense convictions.”
    • See Cannabis Observer’s summaries of the committee report cutoff, opposite house cutoff, and sine die cutoff.
    • On Monday May 13th, Governor Inslee signed the bill. It joins Chapter 400 of the 2019 Session Laws with an effective date of July 28th. See the signing ceremony’s official photos and read the Bill as Passed Legislature and the Final Bill Report.
    • The Governor cited his office’s Marijuana Justice Initiative which he established earlier this year to offer special pardons for cannabis misdemeanors which are no longer criminal acts, and said the bill built on his effort. He added that the law was an “important way to reduce disproportionate impacts of sentencing on communities of color.” After outlining the bill’s impact, Inslee observed, “this is a matter of fairness and justice. We shouldn’t be punishing people for something that’s no longer illegal in the state.” He thanked the sponsor, Senator Joe Nguyen, along with Representative Joe Fitzgibbon. Nguyen attended the signing along with Senator Bob Hasegawa, Stanford, and a large crowd of supporters who applauded Inslee for signing the bill (video).
    • An appropriation for the legislation in the proposed budget under Section 402(5) gives the Washington State Patrol (WSP) $200,000 for implementation split between FY 2020 and FY 2021. This is less than half the $453,000 WSP requested to implement the bill in the final fiscal note. That fiscal note was published on February 17th prior to an amendment to the bill which substantially expanded its potential impact. The fiscal note also includes indeterminate costs for local jurisdictions and Washington’s Administrative Office of the Courts. As outlined in our last executive action update, the bill includes a “null and void clause” (Section 2) which necessitates appropriation of funding by June 30th for the law to go into effect.

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