OmniCannabis II: The amending

by Bailey Hirschburg

This is a follow up to an earlier story reported by MJNewsNetwork: OMNICANNABIS: The WA State Senate Made Behemoth Pot Legislation, And It May Be Too Big To Fail

In the end, my observation in the first omnicannabis article was omniscient, “in rushing to remove the band-aid from this wound, Washington Senators sacrificed transparency and quality for quantity and speed. ” And this is just what happened.

Don’t get me wrong, SB 5131, the omnicannabis bill currently awaiting the signature of Governor Jay Inslee, has some good, bad, and ugly in it. If he doesn’t sign or veto it by May 16th it becomes law.

Gov. Jay Inslee can also veto specific sections, but there’s been no word on what, if any, parts he opposes. In a bill containing consulting contracts & financial disclosures, seed/clone sales to patients by producers, tribal and port notification, Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) staff immunity, an organic-equivalent certification for products, gifting/sharing of cannabis, hemp and recreational regulations, required personal cultivation study, and advertising restrictions, there is a lot Inslee could put on the chopping block. But the bill is too big to fail; a veto will create more problems for the already extended legislative session.

With dramatic amendments on the floor of the state house banning marijuana retailer billboards in 2018, expanding a grace period for inactive licenses, and adding language for licensing and rules for industrial hemp use in marijuana products or for consumption, 5131 was more divisive than its unanimous adoption in the state senate. The billboard amendment, sponsored by Rep. Joyce McDonald, passed narrowly. The senate then decided to take the bill to a conference committee where three senators and three representatives created a final compromise amendment for their chambers to vote on.

The compromise removed McDonald’s billboard ban amendment, and added a report on personal cannabis cultivation by the LCB to the legislature by the end of the year, focusing on the policies compliance with the federal Cole memo on marijuana legalization.

Back to my, “sacrificed transparency and quality for quantity and speed” comment. Between house amendments and the conference committee, a loophole emerged in cannabis seed/clone sale language. One sentence saying patients registered in the state database could buy both seeds/clones, and the following sentence saying qualifying (but unregistered) patients could buy seeds.

Cannabis patient/VIPER PAC lobbyist John Novak brought the discrepancy to Sen. Ann Rivers’ staffs attention, who promptly submitted a bill in the special session, SB 5933, making sure authorized patients cannot buy seeds. The bill says it’s “necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions,” how this topic meets any definition of that is unclear.

LCB staffer James Paribello testified that the board could likely set rules with or without 5933’s passage. Does this mean banning unregistered patients buying seeds through a rules process, or adapting those rules to allow both registered and unregister to buy seeds?

In my first article I pointed to River’s description of 5131 being like the senate removing a band aide all at once. SB 5933 is essentially picking at the scab. I told the Senate Healthcare committee (and Sen. Rivers) just that during 5933’s public hearing, urging them not to pass this restrictive effort to coerce participation in a database patients aren’t interested in, and empower black market for seed sale.

The committee moved promptly on 5933 from public hearing to executive session (usually they’re separate to collect further testimony or address questions) and voted to pass it, but not without a strong dissent from Senate Majority Whip Maureen Walsh, who openly questioned the necessity of the bill. Walsh, and Sen. Steve O’Ban voted against it, with Sen. Barbara Bailey voting without recommendation, a type of abstention.

Whatever Gov. Inslee’s decision, SB 5131 represents a turning point in Washington marijuana laws. It has a broad scope, compromises from most players, and defies a simple characterization as being a good or bad bill. Its just like any other issues in that way. But aside from 5131’s components, it’s size is a cautionary tale for those who hope to make good laws on the fly or en masse.

They say laws are like sausages because the public doesn’t want to watch them made. That may be, but also like sausages, bite off too much and you’ll likely to choke.

You can read the bill as delivered to Gov. Inslee here:

WA NORML 2017 Cannabis Lobby Day at WA State Capital In Olympia Is March 7th

WASHINGTON: The cannabis community in Washington is activating once again for the annual Lobby Day in Olympia.  This year’s theme is “Building Community Through Relationships” and Washington NORML is doing that by bringing together cannabis consumers and members of our legal industry to meet with lawmakers, according to Kevin Oliver, executive director of WANORML. “We will be discussing medical and recreational cannabis bills as well as industry changes that benefit consumers.”

Screenshot 2017-03-02 11.58.21What: Cannabis community lobby day- “Building Community Through Relationships.” 

When: 3/7/17, 9:30am-5pm 

WA NORML PAC Reception 5-7pm

Where: State Capitol Campus, Olympia, WA. Office Building 2 (OB2) auditorium, 1115 Washington St SE, Olympia, WA 98501 

Who: sponsored by NORML Women of Washington, Washington NORML PAC, S.A.G.E., and The Cannabis Alliance 

Request a meeting with your representatives and state senators now!

Besides meeting lawmakers, you’ll network with other concerned citizens that day then have the chance for some light food with attendees and legislators during a reception following that days events at Olympia’s Governor Hotel.

The Days Events:

– Meet at 9:30am for opening greeting and lobby training. 

– Group photo at noon out front of Pritchard Library followed by lunch on your own

– Meetings with your legislators (Schedule your own, find your elected officials here)

– Wrap-up discussion from 4-5pm, followed by a reception at the Governor Hotel, 621 Capitol Way S Olympia, WA 98501, lite food/drink service*

Will Work For Weed

WASHINGTON: Start practicing your elevator pitch — the 60-second speech to land you a dream job in the cannabis industry.

The Marijuana Business Association is hosting a job fair and networking event featuring up to 50 cannabis employers and keynote speakers from across the state. Spokane is host to the third MJBA job fair to date. MJBA co-founder David Rheins says upward of 100 jobs were filled at last year’s job fair in Bellevue.

“You can’t find a cannabis job on Craiglist or Monster.com,” he says. “This is an unprecedented opportunity to meet this many employers who are hiring in one room.”

So bring your résumé.

Employers including BioTrackTHC, Triple T Farms, Blue Roots Cannabis and the Walla Walla Cannabis Company will be on hand, alongside speakers like Eden Labs CEO AC Braddock, who will address cannabis business models and the gender pay gap. Both skilled and unskilled workers in industries as varied as web design and agriculture are encouraged to attend.

“This green rush is unlike other economic booms,” Rheins says. “There are more opportunities in this new market, and employers are looking for workers across the spectrum — from insurance salesmen, to growers, to bankers, to security guards.”

MJBA is a Seattle-based trade organization founded in 2012. The organization is 420 businesses strong, with chapters across Washington, Colorado and Oregon. MJBA provides networking and business platforms for the recreational marijuana industry, with sponsored banking seminars, meetups and job fairs.

“We have a very mature cannabist culture, but an underserviced industry that doesn’t have the tools to function,” Rheins says. “When voters approved the commercialization of cannabis, it didn’t provide a framework for real estate, or insurance, or the very basic business principals that this emerging industry needs to flourish under such scrutiny.”

The association essentially teaches “Business 101” to the hundreds of mom-and-pop stores that have opened since I-502 passed. The job fairs aim to not only highlight, but normalize professional trades in the marijuana industry, and bring together the once-underground community.

“Our disadvantage — our lack of infrastructure — is also our biggest advantage,” Rheins says. “We can build a more intentional market.” ♦

Spokane Cannabis Job Fair • Sat, June 20, from 10 am-4:20 pm • Free • 21+ • Spokane Convention Center • 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. • mjba.net • (425) 892-9221

 

WANORML Gets Slightly Stoopid

WASHINGTON: For years, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) has been working hard to establish pot smokers as, well, normal.

So what’s the Washington chapter of the venerable organization doing sponsoring the ‘Slightly Stoopid’ tour?  Is this a smarter sponsorship than the appellation might suggest?  MJ Headline News asked Executive Director Kevin Oliver to explain, “WANORML is involved because of Slightly Stoopid’s advocacy as consumers themselves and their commitment to supporting NORML and the reform of marijuana laws and policies. Besides, it will be a fantastic night to celebrate the opening of Washington’s legal recreational marijuana retail stores.”

The reggae roots tour is part of the Marymoor Park Concerts presented by Swedish Medical Center Redmond. Slightly Stoopid will perform with Stephen “RAGGA” Marley, G. Love & Special Sauce, Thursday, Jul 10, 2014 – 5:30PM

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ce-uBRMPBrs?list=PLowmQd8VEiQciNRMoA3BGHU9qf9La8rKp]