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Draft conceptual marijuana enforcement rules for review

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) launched rulemaking last fall to revise penalty rules, but the legislative debate during the 2019 Legislative session on ESSB 5318 re-focused the direction and goals of the rule revisions. The agency convened a workgroup of cannabis industry attorneys and other licensees and representatives to collaboratively overhaul the penalty rules. One or two meetings per month were held over several months to re-write the rules. Those work sessions were very productive, collaborative and effective and constitute a model for good governance and best practices in developing regulations.

While these draft conceptual rules represent LCB’s commitment to collaborative rule development and stakeholder engagement, they also accomplish the following:

  • Reduces all fines by 50%;
  • Significantly reducing the number of violations that could result in license cancellation, while balancing penalties across license types;
  • Shifts focus to a compliance and education-based approach designed to encourage and support licensee success;
  • Provides a penalty deferral option;
  • Completely restructures existing penalty grids by establishing penalty categories based on penalty severity and relationship to public health and safety;
  • Reincorporates and associates statutory and regulatory references with violation type;
  • Incorporates mandates of ESSB 5318, including but not limited to establishing a notice of correction, and laying the foundation for the voluntary compliance program; and

LCB welcomes your feedback. They are working on increasing the ways that you can join the conversation and get involved in the rule development process. One of those ways is a rules webpage that will serve as a one-stop resource for all LCB rulemaking activity. While that webpage is being constructed, here are ways you can get involved:

  • Provide comment on this draft conceptual rule set at rules@lcb.wa.gov;
  • Mark your calendar for a September 26 Listen and Learn forum facilitated by Kathy Hoffman, Cannabis Policy and Rules Coordinator (details to follow in early September)
  • Join us at LCB Board meetings and LCB caucus meetings.
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