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Gov. Inslee Appoints David Postman as Chair of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board

WASHINGTON:  The Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) today announces that Gov. Jay Inslee has appointed David Postman as Chair of the LCB Board.

Prior to his appointment, Mr. Postman had served as Gov. Inslee’s chief of staff from Dec. 2015 until Nov. 15, 2020. He served in the Inslee Administration since the governor took office in 2013, first serving as his executive director of communications. Before joining the administration, Postman served as a senior director at Vulcan Inc., the company headed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Mr. Postman has a 26-year career as an award-winning journalist in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, including 14 years working as a political reporter for The Seattle Times.

“David has extensive experience bringing people together to work through complex and difficult issues,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “He is able to listen to divergent viewpoints and synthesize feedback to move toward resolution. He is committed to transparency and openness, and knows state government well. I know David will make an excellent addition to the LCB Board and I am so glad that he will continue to serve the people of Washington.”

The Board is composed of three members appointed by the Governor to six-year terms. The Board holds regular public meetings and work sessions with stakeholders, makes policy and budget decisions, and adjudicates contested license applications and enforcement actions on licensees. Board members also hired the agency’s Director, Rick Garza, who manages day-to-day operations. The agency has licensing, enforcement, tax collection and/or regulatory roles concerning alcohol, cannabis, vape and tobacco. It has a staff of approximately 350.

“David has been part of the LCB’s efforts to help get Washington’s pioneering regulated cannabis system off the ground from the beginning,” said Garza. “He helped demonstrate to the U.S. Dept. of Justice that Washington State could safely implement a safe and orderly system. Ultimately, the Justice Department issued the Cole Memo which stipulated the federal government’s concerns going forward.”

Mr. Postman succeeds former Board Chair Jane Rushford whose term expired in Feb. 2021.

“Jane served as the consummate professional. I thank her for her service to the Board, its employees and for her many contributions,” said Postman. “I am looking forward to carrying on efforts begun under her tenure, particularly the Board’s efforts to increase diversity and equity within the state’s regulated cannabis system.”

Mr. Postman begins his six-year term March 15, 2021. He joins current Board Members Ollie Garrett and Russ Hauge.

Washington Gov Inslee Issues Executive Order Changing How State Will Regulate Vaping Industry

WASHINGTON: Gov. Jay Inslee announced an executive order at a Seattle press conference Friday that changes how agencies will regulate, monitor, and communicate about a variety of vaping products. Other state leaders, including Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Washington State Department of Health Secretary John Wiesman, joined him at the event.

“We aren’t waiting for Big Tobacco to tell us what is in their products,” Inslee said. “We aren’t going to take health guidance from them, because we know that their goals are to make money and create new customers. That is what they are interested in. We are interested in ensuring that adults and young people have known and regulated ingredients in vaping products. Everyone deserves to know what is in the vaping liquid they are inhaling into their lungs.”

The announcement comes after medical professionals reported seven cases of severe lung illness in Washington from vaping devices or e-cigarette products. The Center for Disease Control has reported at least 12 deaths nationwide, as well as more than 800 cases of lung injury possibly related to these products.

Read the rest of the story on the governor’s Medium page.

Inslee Signs Recreational Marijuana Reform Bill

WASHINGTON:  Washington state’s recreational marijuana law has a new tax structure under a measure signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Jay Inslee.

The new law eliminates the current three-tier tax structure and replaces it with a single excise tax of 37 percent at the point of sale – a change sought by the legal-pot industry. To encourage more cities and counties to allow marijuana businesses, the bill directs the state to share pot revenue with jurisdictions that do so. It also allows them to adopt more flexible zoning for where pot grows and stores can be located.

The passage of Initiative 502 in 2012 allowed the sale of marijuana to adults for recreational use at licensed stores, which started opening last year. Earlier this year, the Legislature passed and Inslee signed into law a measure that regulates the state’s medical marijuana system and reconciles the two markets.

The tax structure change is significant for marijuana businesses. Previously, pot shops charged their customers 25 percent as required so they could pass that money along to the state. But because of the way the law was written, they had to pay federal income tax on that money they collected from the customer, even though it didn’t go toward their bottom lines.

WA Gov Inslee To Sign Bill Changing Medical Marijuana Rules

WASHINGTON: Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to sign into law an overhaul of Washington’s medical marijuana market that seeks to eliminate unregulated dispensary sales now that the state’s recreational market is in place.

Among the provisions of the measure Inslee was to sign Friday afternoon is the creation of a voluntary database of patients. Unregistered patients wouldn’t be allowed to possess the same amounts of marijuana or enjoy similar tax breaks that registered patients would.

The passage of Initiative 502 in 2012 allowed the sale of marijuana to adults for recreational use. Recreational businesses have complained that they’re being squeezed by medical dispensaries that have proliferated in many parts of the state.

Medical Marijuana Regulation One Step From Inslee’s Desk

WASHINGTON:  It appears the days are numbered for Washington’s sprawling and largely unregulated medical marijuana marketplace.

Both the state House and Senate have now approved measures to roll medical cannabis into Washington’s recreational pot system. That means big changes ahead for marijuana patients.

Today, a medical patient might go to their corner or local dispensary. If the bill goes into effect, that patient would go into a recreational store that is dual licensed. There might also be stand-along medical marijuana specialty clinics, but the sort-of ubiquitous green cross stores basically go away under this system.

Patients are concerned about the quality and the quantity of access that they would have. One analogy being made is that this is like sending a medical patient into a liquor store for their medicine.”

 

Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper, Washington Gov. Insleee Call For Banking Flexibility For Marijuana Businesses

COLORADO: Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee wrote to federal regulators Wednesday asking for flexibility in federal banking regulations so state-licensed marijuana businesses have access to the banking system. [Read more…]

Seattle City Council To Gov. Inslee: Appropriately Regulate Medical Pot

WASHINGTON: On Monday the Seattle City Council sent a letter addressed to Gov. Jay Inslee, state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles and state Rep. Roger Goodman asking for “further action from the State to appropriately regulate medical cannabis.” The letter was signed by all nine members of the Council along with City Attorney Pete Holmes. [Read more…]

Inslee, Ferguson Tell Congress To Fix Banking Rules So Legal Marijuana Can Work

WASHINGTON: Governor Jay Inslee and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson want Congress to fix the banking rules or (at least) give banks confidence that they can take money from state-licensed marijuana businesses without fear of federal prosecution. [Read more…]

WSLCB Update on “Joints for Jabs” Vaccine Promotions in Washington

To: Cannabis Retailers

Fr: Liquor and Cannabis Board

Re: Update on “Joints for Jabs” Vaccine Promotions

Quick clarification to licensed cannabis retailers — you may use your store’s parking lot to host a vaccination clinic.

In cases with shared parking with other tenants, please limit the boundary to parking spots dedicated for your business. This allowance does not supersede any lease agreements with your property owner so please be sure to check whether this is permissible.

Despite a negative news report about stores not participating, vaccination events at retail stores are already underway or planned at locations around the state. Stores have until July 12, 2021 to participate.

Gov. Inslee has likened the state vaccination effort to be on the “two yard line.” The LCB supports this vaccination incentive as another effort to help get the state over the line. We continue our efforts to make it easier to participate. Please consider now whether this promotion is right for your business.

More information about the so-called “Joints for Jabs” vaccine promotion is available here.