US Department of Justice Announcement
Recently US Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the three memos (Cole, Ogden, Wilkinson) that outline the federal enforcement guidelines for recreational, medical and tribal operations. Those enforcement priorities can further be broken down into three themes: preventing youth access to cannabis, preventing the criminal element from operating within the system, and preventing diversion of product outside of Washington State. While the memo is no longer in effect Washington's system is designed to meet those expectations and the agency will continue to enforce the spirit of the memo.
- The WSLCB will continue to uphold the will of Washington state voters by licensing and regulating the industry.
- Both Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson have been steadfast in defending Washington's system and have both indicated they will continue to do so in the event of federal intervention.
- While AG Sessions rescinded the memos he did not indicate an imminent move towards enforcement actions against regulated systems. Federal enforcement is at the discretion of the Regional Assistant Attorney Generals.
- Any changes to the status quo will be communicated to licensees via email notification. If you haven't already you can sign up for them here.
New Form for Multiple License Holders
Current Issues Impacting Licensees
After you are licensed, all money invested in the business from an outside source must be disclosed to the WSLCB. This includes new investments from all true parties of interest, previously approved financiers, and new financiers. If you are paying for any business expense with anything other than profits generated by the business, it is considered an outside source. Start the process by submitting the Application for Adding a Financier form, available on our website. You must receive board approval before you receive the money.
The legislature is back in session, and now is a good time to explain the agency's role when it comes to proposed legislation. Due to our role as the regulator for the cannabis industry, our staff serve as advisers on potential impacts. When a bill is introduced it is forwarded to the agency for analysis. Our staff assess the bill to determine its fiscal and policy impacts, particularly how it impacts public safety and if it conforms to the recently rescinded Cole Memo. The agency's budget unit determines how much it will cost to implement the legislation, and maintain it going forward including start-up costs, purchases, new employee hires, etc. Members of the LCB are also frequently requested to testify about industry-related bills alongside other impacted parties (industry, public, etc.).
- January 8, 2018 First Day of Session
- February 14, 2018 Last day to consider (pass) bills in house of origin
- March 2, 2018* Last day to consider (pass) opposite house bills
- March 8, 2018 Last day allowed for regular session.
Recent Pesticide Notice
- Bud Factor X, WA Reg. No. 1465-0111
- Finisher 0.0083-0.011-0.0505, WA Reg. No. 2067-0025
- Honey Chome 0.5-0.5-1, WA Reg. No. 2800-0010
- King Kola 0.3-2-3, WA Reg. No. 2800-0008
- Immediately discontinue use of these products and remove these products from the licensed premises.
- Advise all processors to whom you have sold cannabis treated with these products that it may have been treated with pesticide ingredients that are not allowed.
- Provide a notice about the possible use of pesticide ingredients that are not allowed to retailers who carry your products that may have been treated with these products.
- Post the notice provided by the processor in a conspicuous location on your licensed premises.
Research to Policy, What Does it Mean?
As a research consultant with a public health background, I dig up research to provide information, education, and context, as we make policy decisions. While research helps us make decisions about everything from advertising to waste, to farm worker health, this consultancy also allows us to think about the questions we still want answered.
Observations from the Field
LCB Advances with
Cannabis Rules Update
Changes to rules are needed due to changes in advertising laws passed by the Legislature that became effective on July 23, 2017. More information on those changes is available here: https://lcb.wa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/Marijuana/5131-Advertising-Notice.pdf.
- Definitions of “plant” or “product” as depictions of plants and products are prohibited on outdoor advertising.
- Definitions of “billboard” using industry standards, “adults-only facility,” and providing exemptions for “open” and “ATM” signs, etc., are included.
- Adding a minimum size requirement for warnings on advertisements other than outdoor advertisements modeled after requirements for political ads. No warnings required on billboards or two 1600 sq. in. signs on the premises due to limitations on content in the law.
Over the past year, the WSLCB held a work group with representatives from the industry organizations, DOH, and the Washington Poison Center to take a global look at packaging and labeling rules. Information gathered as part of this work group directly informed draft changes.
- Allowing certain products to be packaged loosely in resealable child-resistant packaging without being individually wrapped
- Universal symbol for cannabis products similar to Colorado and Oregon
- Reducing warnings and shortening language for clarity and efficiency
- Addressing “accompanying materials” – reductions and signage options
This rulemaking incorporates rules changes needed from changes to law by the Legislature in 2017 as well as other changes identified by staff, industry, etc. Highlights of the proposed changes include:
- Retail license forfeiture process as required by changes to RCW 69.50.325
- Sales of immature plants/clones and seeds to patients (currently operating under interim policy)
- Adjustments to penalties for advertising violations – Required by 5131
- Removal of prioritization for license applications
- Parameters for disclosing licensing and consulting agreements as required by law
- Removal of 24 hour quarantine prior to transfers
- Removal of 72 hour quarantine prior to destruction of waste
- Volume discounts – carefully drawn to avoid undue influence and cross-tier relationships while still allowing volume discounts similar to other industries
- Allowing extraction services between processors without having to purchase the entire product and sell back to the other processor plus the cost of the extraction service
- Additional detail to the definition of “especially appealing to children” and adding a definition of “cartoon” for advertising and packaging and labeling
- Other clarifying and technical changes to ensure clarity and efficiency of rules
A CR-101 was filed in December for cannabis production and canopy rule changes. This is the initial stage in the rulemaking process providing notice that the agency intends to engage in rulemaking on a subject. The WSLCB is currently gathering comments and proposals for potential rule changes on this subject and pulling together information for a draft to be considered by the Board.
Check out our Proposed Rules webpage under Laws and Rules on the WLSCB’s website and submit comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. All rulemaking activity occurs at Board meetings. You can access Board agendas and meeting materials at the Board’s webpage: Board Meeting Schedule and Information.
Canopy Analyst Team
- BioTrack THC
- CannaData Solutions
- Cova Software
- Early Bird Solutions/Cannasol
- MJ Freeway
- Mister Kraken
- S2 Solutions
- Soro Software