WSLCB – Board Meeting
(December 12, 2018)

Here are some observations from the Wednesday December 12th WSLCB Board Meeting.

My top 3 takeaways:

  • Board members approved three Board Interim Policies (BIP) following briefings from Policy and Rules Coordinator Kathy Hoffman.
    • Board Interim Policy BIP-06-2018 addresses a licensee’s ability to utilize their own money in their cannabis business prior to vetting required by WAC 314.55.035(5) (audio – 3m, video).
      • Hoffman explained the intent of the original rule was to “prohibit undue influence across tiers and prevent criminal enterprises from engaging in licensed marijuana businesses.” However, vetting can take “in excess of 50 days.”
      • In response to requests from licensees, this interim policy allows personal funds to be used while vetting is ongoing. The application will change to include acknowledgment from the licensee that funding from criminal enterprises is not permitted, and that their license may be revoked if the source of funds is “questionable, unverifiable, or determined by the LCB to be gained in a manner which is in violation of the law.” The authority to revoke licenses is consistent with WAC 314-55-050.
    • Board Interim Policy BIP-07-2018 defines the terms “false and misleading” in WAC 314-55-105(2)(v)(A) as cannabis product labeling which “mimics, implies, or references a product containing alcohol.” This policy applies to all usable cannabis and cannabis products (audio – 2m, video).
    • Board Interim Policy BIP-10-2018 defines permitted shapes and colors of Marijuana Infused Edible (MIE) products, packaging, and labeling (audio – 3m, video).
      • The interim policy is responding to “feedback from the industry that the packaging, labeling, and product review process lacked transparency and was hard to understand.”
      • Hoffman told board members the change would clarify “packaging, labeling, and product decisions” around MIEs, which would help licensees and the public through reduced risk of accidental MIE exposure by children and youth.
      • These changes currently apply only to MIEs.
      • Cannabis Observer dives deep into this issue in our recent Marijuana Infused Edibles Update.
  • Board Chair Jane Rushford confirmed postponed BIPs will be addressed in 2019 (audio – 1m, video).
    • An earlier agenda for the meeting included two more BIPs for cannabis labeling: Board Interim Policy BIP-08-2018 regarding claims of “Curative or Therapeutic Effects” and Board Interim Policy BIP-09-2018 for “MIE Colors and Homogenization.”
    • Chair Rushford said, “We will come back to these.” The earliest these policies could move forward is the Board’s January 9th Meeting at Spokane City Hall.
    • The Board’s decision to wait on these measures was Cannabis Observer’s top takeaway from this week’s Board Caucus.
  • Activist Don Skakie offered comments on MIE color restrictions and quarantine areas (audio – 3m, video).
    • Skakie noted the agency’s mission reads “Promote public safety and trust through fair administration and enforcement of liquor, cannabis, tobacco, and vapor laws.” He questioned how the board would attain “trust through fair administration” when cannabis products were restricted by shape and color but alcohol, tobacco, and vapor products were not. He urged consistency on product restrictions where there was concern about youth use.
    • Skakie also told the Board that while they had suspended the quarantine requirement earlier this year with Board Interim Policy BIP-03-2018, licensees still had to maintain quarantine areas in their businesses because of separate statutes.
    • Following the meeting, Skakie said he was told by a WSLCB staffer that the agency was “working on it.” Skakie indicated his comments spring from conversations in a private online forum where licensees reported hearing inconsistent feedback from enforcement officers.
    • Cannabis Observer research indicates all quarantine language in WAC 314-55-083 was removed as part of the 2017 Cannabis Legislation and Technical Housekeeping Rules which became effective December 1, 2018. We are uncertain if additional references exist in statute, rule, or WSLCB policy that would necessitate the continued maintenance of quarantine areas on licensed premises.

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