The Week Ahead (January 11, 2021)

The Washington State Legislature kicked off its 2021 session where homegrow was already scheduled to be heard while the WSLCB and SBOH positioned to advocate for their interests.

Here’s a look at cannabis-related policymaking events on the calendar in the week ahead.

2021 Legislative Session

  • HB 1019 – “Allowing residential marijuana agriculture.”
  • HB 1057 – “Clarifying the meaning of the term ‘enjoyment of life and property’ within the clean air act.”
  • HB 1105 – “Concerning arrest protections for the medical use of cannabis.”
    • Sponsors: Kloba, Simmons, Fitzgibbon (+1)
    • Pre-Filed: January 7th
    • Next Step: pro forma first reading and referral to committee
    • Statement from patient advocate John Kingsbury: “If you are a properly authorized patient in Washington State, the law begins with the assumption that you are a criminal unless you can prove otherwise. That is mean-spirited and has no relationship to public safety -especially for a substance that you can now buy like beer. Absent obvious violations of the law, patients should never be arrested, have their stuff taken, or be issued a notice to appear. The lives of most patients are difficult enough without dealing with the criminal justice system. This bill is designed to change the assumption that patients are criminals. Innocent until proven guilty. That should be the standard. I hope you will support it.”
  • SB 5004 – “Providing a tax exemption for medical marijuana patients.”
    • Sponsors: Keiser, Warnick
    • Next Step: pro forma first reading and referral to committee
  • SB 5035 – “Concerning offender scoring of drug offenses.”
    • Sponsors: Dhingra, Nguyen
    • Next Step: pro forma first reading and referral to committee
  • SB 5129 – “Concerning the possession of vapor, vapor products, tobacco, and tobacco products by minors.”

Monday January 11th

On Monday at 12pm PT, the Washington State House of Representatives (WA House) was scheduled to convene for the opening day of the 2021 legislative session.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • From TVW: “2021 Opening Ceremonies — approval of rules that include authorization for remote voting, election of House officers, adopt resolutions for joint rules and joint sessions with the Senate, other business, adjournment.”

On Monday at 2pm PT, the Washington State Senate (WA Senate) was scheduled to convene for the opening day of the 2021 legislative session.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • From TVW: “2021 Opening Ceremonies — election of Senate officers, adoption of rules, other business.”
  • At publication time, we assumed the Legislature’s website had the correct time of 2pm, but note that TVW had their broadcast scheduled for 11am.

Things happen fast during the legislative session. We’ll be utilizing our Slack workspace to post updates quickly and frequently, and welcome your realtime or asynchronous engagement throughout the session. Join our Slack workspace here.

Tuesday January 12th

On Tuesday at 8am PT, the Washington State House Environment and Energy Committee (WA House ENVI) was scheduled to convene.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • HB 1057, “Clarifying the meaning of the term ‘enjoyment of life and property’ within the clean air act” was scheduled to receive its house of origin policy committee public hearing.

On Tuesday at 10am PT, the weekly WSLCB Board Caucus was scheduled to recur.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The Board’s January 2021 calendar allocates one hour for caucus meetings. Prior to 2021, caucus meetings were allotted 2.5 hours. With some exceptions, the Board rarely used that much time.
  • However, the agency also seems to have cut the same amount of time from their formal Board Meetings where public hearings on rulemaking projects often push engagements beyond one hour. It’s unclear how the agency intends to handle those circumstances.

Wednesday January 13th

On Wednesday at 9:30am PT, the monthly Washington State Board of Health (SBOH) Board Meeting was scheduled to convene.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • The Board’s 2021 Legislative Statement will be presented for adoption. Of 16 topics addressed in the Statement, “Preventing Smoking and Vaping ranked 4th:
    • In August 2016, the Board adopted Resolution 2016-01 to increase the age of purchase for tobacco and vapor products from age 18 years to 21. During the 2019 legislative session, EHB 1074 passed, raising the legal age for purchasing tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21. The Board supports enhancing current strategies to prevent marketing, sales, and use of tobacco, e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and cannabis to youth, including a ban on all flavored vapor and tobacco products ban and adding additional authority for product bans and allowing recalls smoking and vapor products. The Board would support legislation that improves regulation of Washington’s vapor product industry including requiring vapor ingredient disclosure and routine lab testing for vapor products, requiring signage regarding health risks of these products, removing the pre-emption of vapor product retail licensing, allowing for product bans and recalls, and instituting nicotine limits in products sold in Washington state.
  • The Board will also be introduced to the new Washington State Secretary of Health, Umair Shah.

On Wednesday at 10:30am PT, Washington State Senate Labor, Commerce, and Tribal Affairs Committee (WA Senate LCTA) was scheduled to convene.

  • At publication time, there were no cannabis-related bills scheduled for this event.

On Wednesday at 12:15pm PT, a Washington State Legislature (WA Legislature) Joint Session was scheduled for the purpose of receiving the Governor’s Inaugural Address.

On Wednesday at 1:30pm PT, the three-member Board and agency leadership were scheduled to convene a WSLCB Executive Management Team (EMT) meeting.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • At the December 9th EMT meeting, Board Chair Jane Rushford said the agency intended to try “to schedule an EMT at least once a month in 2021” after cancelling over 90% of the weekly EMT meetings in 2020. This is the only remaining EMT event scheduled on the Board’s January calendar, so we expect it will occur.
  • Read the summary and a deeper dive into the Public Health and Prevention presentation at the last EMT meeting on December 9th.

Thursday January 14th

On Thursday at 8am PT, WA Senate LCTA was scheduled to convene.

  • At publication time, there were no cannabis-related bills scheduled for this event.

Friday January 15th

On Friday at 10:00am PT, the Washington State House Commerce and Gaming Committee (WA House COG) was scheduled to convene.

  • [ Event Details ]
  • HB 1019, “Allowing residential marijuana agriculture,” was scheduled to receive its house of origin policy committee public hearing.
  • Due to the pandemic, opportunities for public participation in the State legislative process would be unprecedented and remotely available anywhere.
    • The Washington State Legislative Information Center (WA LIC) published a one-page document describing how to access the legislature remotely during the 2021 session.
    • WA LIC also hosted an informative class to coach advocates on how to participate in the remote session for Prevention Voices on January 5th. The coalition recorded the webinar and subsequently made it available. Take a look to hear directly from WA Legislature staff on the procedures for providing public testimony during committee meetings.

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