WSLCB

Topics and Trends Newsletter: Summer Cannabis Edition

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) issues Summer Newsletter

The following newsletter was received from the The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) via e-mail.

Thank You for Your Feedback

In February 2020, the Cannabis Licensing Management Team began conducting exit interviews with applicants to identify ways to improve our customer service. We ask six questions to assess customer service, timeliness, education and information we provide, and other opportunities to improve our processes.
To date, we have conducted 319 interviews; 81% of the results have been positive. The feedback (both positive and negative) has helped us to identify specific areas for improvement. Timely responses is on the top of our list. We look forward to continuing these interviews. Thank you for supporting our efforts to improve our processes and customer service.


Application Time Frames

It’s our goal to process cannabis applications within 90-120 days. Meeting these time frames is a partnership between Licensing and the applicant. Each application type has different requirements.
Many factors can impact processing times, including construction delays, teleworking, and furloughs. Licensing understands that cannabis businesses may need additional support during these difficult times.
We can assist you by offering more time and flexibility to navigate the licensing process. Please reach out to your Licensing Specialist and stay in contact with them about the status of your applications, barriers you might encounter, and other issues that you are having.


Tax Reporting Tips

Cannabis Producer/Processors
Producer/Processor licensees do not have a tax reporting requirement.  Sales are reported in the LEAF System.  Any questions should be addressed with your LCB enforcement officer.
Cannabis Retailers

  • Email your completed monthly sales/tax report to marijuanataxes@lcb.wa.gov and save the cost of postage and envelopes.
    • Copies of your on line payment confirmation or 3rd party point of sale system reports are not required unless requested by the LCB.
  • The Retailers Sales and Excise Tax monthly sales/tax report is available on-line and was last updated December 2019, use of older forms should be discontinued.
  • The Retailers Sales and Excise Tax monthly sales/tax report will calculate the marijuana excise tax by entering the monthly sales amount.
  • Revised reports – if you need to change your report, check box for “Revised Report” on the Retailers Sales and Excise Tax monthly sales/tax report
    • When submitting the revised report, include a copy of the original report, the monthly marijuana sales report from your point of sales system and reason for the change.
    • Email to marijuanataxes@lcb.wa.gov
  • Mail sent to the previous physical location at Pacific Avenue will not be delivered to our current location after July 31, 2020. 
    Please use: PO Box 43085, Olympia, WA  98504
  • Use your new license number on your report if you store has moved to a new location.
  • The email address we have on file for you is used for direct communication.  If your email address has changed, send your updated email address to licensingchanges@lcb.wa.gov.

Delays are Understandable

During this pandemic, Licensing understands that things may take more time and cannabis businesses may need additional support.
Licensing wants to assist you by offering more time and flexibility to get you through the licensing process. Please reach out to your Licensing Specialist and stay in contact with them about the status of your applications, barriers you might encounter, and other issues that you are having.


Certificates of Location Compliance

The Licensing Division began issuing Certificates of Location Compliance on June 11, 2020. This legislative session, Senate Bill 6206 amended RCW 69.50.331 to allow the WSLCB to issue Certificates of Compliance to applicants when their location meets entity restriction requirements on the date we receive the application. Applicants who meet all other licensing requirements may now obtain their license if a restricted entity opens near their location after the WSLCB issues the Certificate of Compliance. In the past, the law required applicants to find a new location if a restricted entity moved too close to their proposed location before they completed the licensing process.
Please note, this certificate is only for applicants who apply for an original location or change of location. Licensing cannot provide certificates without an application. Applicants must meet all other licensing requirements and receive final approval from the WSLCB to produce, process, or sell marijuana.


Notify Enforcement When Abandoning a Location

Enforcement has recently seen an increase in cannabis licensees abandoning their location without notifying the WSLCB.  Please remember to notify your officer prior to leaving your location. 
WAC 314-55-135 specifically states that your license is associated with a physical location. Persons operating without a WSLCB approved licensed location to produce, process, or sell marijuana will be discontinued. 
Unless there are extenuating circumstances, you must have a location to go to prior to leaving your current location.  Extenuating circumstances include, but not limited to:

  • Fires;
  • Property sold without your knowledge; or
  • Local jurisdiction bans. 

Please help us be able to help you by providing ample notification of your situation so we can best advise you how to move forward.


Application Adjustments during COVID-19 Response

We are still accepting and working through applications. Because requests to Alter Cannabis Site and/or Operating Plan applications and Additional Funding applications are mailed directly to the WSLCB, processing these applications may take a little longer than usual. To check on the status of these applications, please email marijuanalicensing@lcb.wa.gov. We will respond and let you know if your application was received and where it’s at in the process.
Thank you for your patience!  


What’s New with Rules?

We’re growing! Audrey Vasek and Casey Schaufler joined us in mid-May as our new Rules and Policy Coordinators. Currently, Audrey is leaning into learning our liquor rules, and Casey is leaning into learning our cannabis, vape, and tobacco rules. The idea, however, is that their collaborative efforts to learn and participate in rule development for all of the products we regulate will help not only to build their capacity as a team, but our capacity as an agency to serve our licensees and the state of Washington.
So, what’s new with rules? See the chart for the status of current cannabis rule projects. If you’d like to know more about each project, please visit our rules web page for rules in progress, along with documents describing each project in detail.
Want to get involved? Keep an eye out for Listen and Learn session announcements through our GovDelivery notification service.
We look forward to working with you!
Kathy Hoffman, Policy and Rules Manager


Virtual Listen and Learn Forum Session #1: Rules Regarding Marijuana Definitions and Vapor Products

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) is hosting two Listen and Learn forums to consider establishing new and amending existing sections of rule concerning marijuana definitions and marijuana vapor products. This is the first of two planned sessions. The full text of the draft conceptual rules are provided hereFor this session, we are discussing only draft conceptual rule sections 314-55-010(4) and (40) to implement House Bill 2826 pertaining to marijuana vapor products.
Please join us virtually on Tuesday, September 1, 2020, from 2:00 p.m. until 3:45 p.m. via WebEx.
Background
On March 25, 2020, HB 2826 passed the legislature in response to concerns related to marijuana vapor product and vapor related lung illnesses. The bill contained an emergency clause, and in its intent section, found that “recent reports of lung illnesses associated with vapor products” demanded “serious attention by the state in the interest of protecting public health and preventing youth access.
HB 2826 provides that the Board may adopt rules prohibiting any type of marijuana vapor product device, or prohibit the use of any type of additive, solvent, ingredient, or compound in the production and processing of marijuana products, including marijuana vapor products. However, before adopting either of these types of rules, the Board must have determined, following a consultation with the Department of Health (DOH), or any other authority the Board deems appropriate, the device, additive, solvent, ingredient, or compound may pose a risk to public health or youth access.
HB 2826 authorizes the Board to require marijuana processors to submit, under oath, to the Department of Health, a complete list of all constituent substances and the amount and sources of all constituent substances in each marijuana vapor product. HB 2826 also provides that Board may adopt rules prohibiting the use of a characterizing flavor in marijuana vapor products.
Rules are needed to implement the provisions of HB 2826, and to establish definitions for terms including, but not limited to “characterizing flavor,” botanical terpenes,” and others.
The Preproposal Statement of Inquiry filed by the Liquor and Cannabis Board may be found here.
Meeting Details
An agenda is attached. Please come prepared to offer feedback and suggestions regarding this rule section.
If you wish to participate virtually, we’d like to offer the following reminders: 

  • Virtual participation will be structured to allow one speaker at a time through a 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 rulemaking, 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/j.php?MTID=mee35a3ea86f3824ff52650252c672ee9
To join the WebEx meeting via audio conference only:

  • Toll Free: 1-855-929-3239
  • Toll: 415-655-0001

Access Code: 133 951 6990


Update on LCB’s Systems Modernization Project (SMP)

LCB’s current online systems are outdated and can be difficult to navigate The LCB’s online systems are made up of a variety of outdated applications that manage licensing and agency business processes for cannabis, vapor products, tobacco, beer, spirits, wine, and our enforcement and education services. Maintaining these old systems is costly and limits the ability to make improvements to functionality and ease of use.  The risk of system failure is also a significant concern.
Developing a new system that meets requirements and improves functionality The agency is working on a project called Systems Modernization Project (SMP) to develop a new system to replace the outdated systems with an integrated system. The new system will be called Licensing, Enforcement, Education, and Administrative Data Systems (LEEADS). It will have an online portal where applicants can see the status of their applications and can add or modify information directly. Online payments will be possible, and licensees will be able to see their license history for all of their licenses, permits, and endorsements in one location.
Learning what licensees need and want from an online licensing system The project team includes staff experts from each LCB area to ensure the new system meets the needs of staff and licensees from each area. Project staff have been contacting licensees from a variety of license types to get insight into their needs and experiences with LCB’s online systems. As the project moves forward, licensee feedback will help shape the development of the LEEADS system. A selection of licensees will be contacted for help in testing the system. Licensees will be kept updated on LEEADS progress via this newsletter and other ways. If you have questions please email the project team at SMP@lcb.wa.gov.


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WSLCB Mission: 

Promote public safety and trust through fair administration and enforcement of liquor, cannabis, tobacco, and vapor laws.

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