Washington: WSLCB Virtual Listen and Learn Forum: Rules Regarding Tier 1 Producer Licensing, Session #1

WASHINGTON: The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) is hosting two Listen and Learn forums about the current rules regarding marijuana producer licenses, specifically the consideration of revisions and new rule sections that would incrementally expand the plant canopy square footage allowed for licensed Tier 1 producers. This is the first of two planned sessions. Session #1 will cover WAC 314-55-075 Sections 1 through 5. Session #2 will focus on Sections 6 through 11. The full text of WAC 314-55-075 is provided here.

Please join us virtually on Tuesday, June 23, 2020, from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. via WebEx in alignment with guidance and recommendations issued by the Governor’s office.

As you may recall, the Board began to consider revisions to existing producer license rules by initiating a formal rule inquiry on December 18, 2019. The Pre-proposal Statement of Inquiry filed by the Liquor and Cannabis Board may be found here.

The Board has received requests from medical marijuana patients and segments of the industry to increase the availability of Department of Health (DOH) compliant product in licensed retail stores. The Board has also learned that smaller producers are concerned about business sustainability based on canopy space restrictions. Recognizing this, the Board would like to explore the ways that it can support Tier 1 producer business viability. Revisions considered may also include clarifying and technical updates to existing rule within the scope of this topic.

An agenda is attached to help you prepare. Please come prepared to offer feedback and suggestions regarding this rule section.

If you wish to join us virtually, we’d like to offer the following reminders:

  • Virtual participation will be structured to allow one speaker at a time though the hand-raising feature on WebEx.
  • If you experience difficulty with audio or visual elements of virtual participation, please be patient.

Please remember that we are still in the developmental phase of rule-making, and there are not yet any proposed or final rules amendments. To help you prepare for this listen/learn/contribute forum, please review the guidance document prepared for this and future forums.

Questions? Contact Casey Schaufler at casey.schaufler@lcb.wa.gov

To join the WebEx meeting online:

https://watech.webex.com/watech/onstage/g.php?MTID=e1886460dce4a796b28a08402e1a194b6

To join the WebEx meeting via audio conference only:

Toll Free: 1-855-929-3239
Access Code: 133 082 7909

WSLCB Issues Marijuana Packaging & Labeling: Rules And Process Update

Dear Stakeholders:

As you may know, we have been working on revisions to marijuana packaging and labeling rules. We filed a CR-101 on May 29, 2019, to consider two rule making petitions, further discuss the addition of board interim polices 05-2018, 07-2018, 08-2018, 09-2018, and 10-2018 to implement Engrossed Senate Substitute Bill (ESSB) 5298.

ESSB 5298 allows additional information on the packaging and labeling of marijuana products to assist consumers when making purchases of these products. The additional information may include structure and function claims on Department of Health (DOH) compliant products, as well as directions or recommended conditions of use, or a warning that describes the product’s psychoactive effect for all marijuana products.

Stakeholder engagement is encouraged during the rule development process.  The Liquor and Cannabis Board anticipates hosting facilitated listen and learn sessions in September and October, and invites your feedback on draft conceptual rules that will be released in mid-September.

While we are in the rule development phase, packaging submissions containing information associated with ESSB 5298 will not be accepted.  It is early in the process and the effective date of ESSB 5298 is January 1, 2020. We anticipate accepting this type of packaging and labeling submission described in ESSB 5298 starting December 2019 following rule adoption, but before the anticipated rule effective date of January 1, 2020. We ask that you hold any packaging and labeling submissions related to ESSB 5298 until that time.

Thank you for your continued partnership and commitment to the rule development process.

Questions? Contact the Licensing Division – Label Approval at labelapproval@lcb.wa.gov.

Washington State Year One Canopy Report Available Online

WASHINGTON:  The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board Year One Canopy Report is now available on the LCB website.

The Year One Canopy Report was completed to reflect the results of a canopy survey. The canopy survey was developed at the request of LCB board members in the fall of 2017. The Canopy Project focused on the collection of relevant data from all producers, with an analysis of licensed space utilization.

LCB Canopy Report

During the first year, the Canopy Team attempted to survey 1,155 licensees. The team completed 792 surveys, encountered 254 licensees that reported no canopy, and was unable to survey 109 licensees. The 792 completed surveys consisted of 778 staff surveys and 14 drone surveys. The data indicates that, on average, both indoor and outdoor canopy space is underutilized. The team did encounter licensees producing above their allotted licensed canopy space, however those observations were a small percentage of all observations.

Detailed results and interpretation are available in this report.

Washington State Legal Cannabis By The Numbers: February 1, 2018 – May 24, 2018

WASHINGTON:  The below statistics cover activity in Leaf Data Systems for the time period between February 1, 2018 and May 24, 2018.

The below statistics cover activity in Leaf Data Systems for the time period between February 1, 2018 and May 24, 2018.

The below statistics cover activity in Leaf Data Systems for the time period between February 1, 2018 and May 24, 2018.

Washington State By The Numbers

WASHINGTON: The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis board have released the most recent statistics from Leaf Data Systems, detailing all commercial activity for the time period between February 1, 2018 and April 26, 2018.

Washington consumers purchased more than half a billion dollars of legal cannabis during the 90-day period, making nearly 13 million purchases.

 

The latest marketplace statistics from Washington State

The latest marketplace statistics from Washington State

Cannabis Industry Ambassador-At-Large: Twenty22Many Art Auction

Twenty22Many is a Washington-based Veterans group, born out of the old Medical Marijuana Collective model that preceded recreational cannabis in Washington State.

The mission of the Twenty22Many is “By All Means Necessary – End Veteran Suicide.” Founder Patrick Saint, and other volunteer veterans are committed to raising awareness about the extremely high suicide rates among our military veterans — it is reported that 22 daily suicides occur daily in America.

Patrick and his group of Veteran volunteers turned to Washington State’s newly licensed recreational cannabis community for help. Together, they created the Twenty22Many Veteran Support Depot Program to offer vets a safe haven and access to resources.

If a veteran walks through the door of a participating retailer in need of anything, they will be given a flyer with valuable contact information on it.  Once contacted, Twenty22Many will promptly dispatch a veteran volunteer and resources to that veteran in need.  Twenty22Many Veteran Support Depot Program essentially converts participating I-502 stores into little Veteran hubs all over the state.

I grew up in a military family. Both my father and a sister served in the armed forces, and so I was especially excited to join Twenty22Many at their annual fundraiser as a guest of the founder.  The auction was held at Heylo Cannabis Extractions in Sodo Seattle.

These works are like DMT meet LSD

These works are like DMT meet LSD

The evening started off with an art auction. The featured artist was Adream, whose work is so detailed and inspiring. These works were both colorful and spiritual in some mystical way — like DMT meet LSD.

I also attended a glass blowing event earlier, hosted by Weekend Unlimited, Jerome Baker Designs and Leafly. Jason Harris of JBD Glass graciously donated a wonderful JBD bong to Patrick and Twenty22Many for auction at the evening event.

 

Jason Harris of JBD Glass so graciously donated a wonderful JBD bong to Patrick and the Twenty22Many.

Jason Harris of JBD Glass so graciously donated a wonderful JBD bong to Patrick and the Twenty22Many.

I was given the extreme honor to present Patrick with a Challenge Coin. In the military, challenge coins are often offered to visiting dignitaries or guest of a unit or platoon.  This particular coin was given to me by Four-Star General “Skip” Dreps, a well-known Veterans advocate who works with the Disabled Veterans of the Pacific Northwest. General Dreps is a good friend of Jake The Professor who always jumps at the chance to help his fellow brothers in arms.

Thank you to Heylo Canbabis Extractions, the Space Shuttle, and Twenty22Many for helping us understand the needs of the veterans community and offering us an opportunity help.

Patrick Saint and Twenty22Many need our support to carry out this very important mission. I invite you to work with us to reduce suicide rates within the Veterans community.  Please reach out to Twenty22Many in Olympia to participate in this life saving program.

 

WSLCB 2017 Legislative Fact Sheets Now Available

WASHINGTON: Fact sheets detailing new alcohol and marijuana related laws from the 2017 legislative session are now available on the Liquor and Cannabis Board’s website.

Where available/relevant the fact sheets also contain information about the agency’s process to implement these changes. If you have additional questions please contact Customer Serviceat (360) 664-1600.

2017 Legislation

WSLCB Notice to Stakeholders – Sales of Plants/Clones And Seeds Interim Policy

INTERIM POLICY NOTICE – #BIP-01-2017

WASHINGTON: The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board has issued an Interim Policy to provide requirements and guidance for sales of immature marijuana plants or clones and seeds between licensed producers and qualifying patients, designated providers, and members of a registered cooperative in response to the passage of ESSB 5131 during the 2017 Legislative Session. This Interim Policy is effective July 23, 2017, and expires when permanent rules take effect. Permanent rulemaking to implement these provisions is currently underway.

The Interim Policy is located on WSLCB’s Laws and Rules webpage under Interim Policies: http://lcb.wa.gov/laws/interim-policies.

 

WSLCB

WSLCB

If you wish to comment on the permanent rulemaking related to this Interim Policy, please do so using the contact information below. Information on the permanent rulemaking is available on WSLCB’s Laws and Rules webpage under Proposed Rules: http://lcb.wa.gov/rules/proposed-rules.

 

By mail:   Rules Coordinator                 By e-mail:             By fax:

Liquor and Cannabis Board    rules@lcb.wa.gov    360-664-9689

P.O. Box 43080

Olympia, WA  98504-3080

 

Washington State’s Cannabis Tracking Contract Up For Bid

By Bart Schaneman, Marijuana Business Daily

WASHINGTON: Washington state regulators have begun accepting bids for a new seed-to-sale tracking system to keep tabs on marijuana commerce, a deal with an initial value of about $3 million.

The competition likely will be fierce, given that the contract involves one of the nation’s largest cannabis markets.

But businesses won’t be squaring off against the provider of the state’s current seed-to-sale system, BioTrackTHC. The company said it has no plans to bid for the new contract, saying it is uncomfortable with some specifics of the state’s proposal.

BioTrackTHC’s contract expires in October.

Bids for the new contract are due by April 26, and the state hopes to have the new system in place by Oct. 31, Brian Smith, communications director for Washington’s Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB), told Marijuana Business Daily.

The contract length will be negotiated.

BioTrack Bowing Out

State government contracts have become a lucrative – and prestigious – source of income for software companies that provide seed-to-sale tracking systems. In some states, numerous competitors have submitted bids for contracts, which are often worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions.

BioTrackTHC first won Washington’s contract in 2013.

It beat out 21 other companies, netting $750,000 for the base deal and even more as part of a two-year maintenance agreement. But the company’s software platform has come under criticism from commercial cannabis growers who complained it was costing them time and money.

Patrick Vo, CEO of BioTrackTHC, argues that the LCB’s proposed system is less robust than the company’s existing platform.

And he believes the language in the bidding documents, or RFP (request for proposals), may not satisfy requirements spelled out in the U.S. Justice Department’s Cole Memo.

“At this time, with the requirements that are in the RFP, we are not comfortable with bidding,” Vo said.

System Price Tag, Revamp

Washington’s planned seed-to-sale system carries a price tag of approximately $3 million for initial installation.

The state Liquor and Cannabis Board is contributing $980,000 to help cover the costs. State lawmakers must develop a plan to pay the rest.

The platform allows regulators to monitor cannabis companies’ supply chain – everything from cultivation and transportation to dispensary inventories and sales.

Washington’s cannabis market is burgeoning. Sales nearly doubled in 2016, increasing 95% to $696 million. (Last year, Washington merged its previously unregulated medical marijuana market into its heavily regulated adult-use industry.)

Initially, the state developed its requirements for the tracking system before any marijuana licenses were issued. The system met the state’s initial needs, the LCB’s Smith said. But now, with some 1,600 licensees, it’s necessary to revamp it.

Since operations began, Smith said, the state cannabis market has grown “exponentially” and has exceeded the current platform’s capacity. Washington has about 500 MJ retailers and some 1,200 producers and processors.

According to Smith, his agency wants an existing off-the-shelf system given the LCB’s “aggressive timeline.”

“The vendors for this aren’t limited to the marijuana industry,” he added. “It could be anyone who maintains systems like this for other products in other industries. We need a more robust system that can flex with Washington’s growing, maturing marijuana system.”

To pay for the system’s ongoing cost, the annual license fee for the seed-to-sale contractor would rise to $1,300 from the current $1,000.

Roll with the punches

Like state regulators, industry officials want a new system that’s flexible and can adapt to a changing cannabis industry.

“We didn’t know what we didn’t know when the state originally procured a system,” said Lori Lizotte, a member of the Washington CannaBusiness Association. “The industry has evolved, and as the industry evolved, the needs have changed.”

When Washington legalized adult-use cannabis, regulations were applied that have since been amended and changed. The state has struggled to alter the tracking system to account for those changes, according to Lizotte. Each change requires customizing the system, which comes with a “very, very expensive” price tag, she said.

BioTrackTHC’s Vo countered that his company’s current system “is very configurable.”

“The government platforms that we have deployed in other states are all different. They’ve all been configured for their specific regulations,” he added.

Mixed reviews

Karl Keich, who owns two marijuana retail stores in Washington, hasn’t experienced any glitches with BioTrackTHC.

“We haven’t had any issues,” he said.

He does hope the state will award a contract for a system that uses an interface that integrates easily with the different of point-of-sale software systems used by rec shops and dispensaries.

By contrast, Jeremy Moberg – president of the Washington Sungrowers Association and CEO of Cannasol Farms, a producer/processor company in Okanogan County, Washington – hasn’t been happy with BioTrackTHC.

Moberg uses the system for the reports the state requires and said simple tasks, such as sorting correctly and narrowing margins, have been “subpar.”

“It really doesn’t function on a business level very well, or very efficiently,” he added. “So I’ve invested a lot of time and resources and money into writing functional software over the top of BioTrack.”