LIQUOR AND CANNABIS
[Filed January 6, 2021, 11:42 a.m., effective January 6, 2021, 11:42 a.m.]
Effective Date of Rule: Immediately upon filing.
Purpose: WAC 314-55-079 Marijuana retailer license—Privileges, requirements and fees, the Washington state liquor and cannabis board (board) has adopted an emergency rule as WAC 314-55-079(14) that continues to allow the board to take disciplinary action against any licensed marijuana retailer failing to comply with the provisions of WAC 314-55-1065 concerning prohibition of the sale of vitamin E acetate. This filing supersedes and replaces emergency rules filed as WSR 20-19-082 on September 16, 2020.
Citation of Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 314-55-079.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: HB 2826 (chapter 133, Laws of 2020), effective March 25, 2020; RCW 69.50.342
Under RCW 34.05.350
the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest.
Reasons for this Finding: The standards in this emergency rule have not changed from the previous emergency rule. HB 2826 concerning marijuana vapor products went into effect on March 25, 2020. Among other things, HB 2826 amended RCW 69.50.342
(1) regarding the board's rule-making authority by adding a new section (m), providing that the board may, by rule, prohibit any device used in conjunction with a marijuana vapor product and prohibit the use of any type of additive, solvent, ingredient, or compound in the production and processing of marijuana products, including marijuana vapor products, when the board determines, following a determination by the Washington state department of health or any other authority the board deems appropriate, that the device, additive, solvent, ingredient, or compound may pose a risk to public health or youth access.
On November 19, 2019, March 19 and July 17, 2020, the Washington state board of health (SBOH) offered the following background and reasoning for its ban of vitamin E acetate:
|•||In July 2019 the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States Food and Drug Administration, state and local health jurisdictions and other clinical and public health partners began investigation [of] outbreaks of lung injury associated with e-cigarette product use, or vaping. In September 2019, the CDC activated its Emergency Operations Center to aid in the investigation of the multistate outbreak. As of February 18, 2020, CDC reported a total of two thousand eight hundred seven cases of hospitalized e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI) cases, and sixty-eight deaths in twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia. Twenty-seven cases of lung injury, including two deaths have been reported in Washington state.|
|•||As part of the investigation into the multistate outbreak of lung disease associated with the use of vapor products, a recent study cited by the CDC conducted laboratory tests of fifty-one samples of fluid collected from the lungs of patients with vaping-associated lung disease from sixteen states. Forty-nine samples contained vitamin E acetate, providing direct evidence of vitamin E acetate at the primary site of the injury in the lungs. Vitamin E acetate is a chemical that is used as an additive or thickening ingredient in vapor products. THC was identified in forty-seven of fifty samples and nicotine was identified in thirty of forty-seven samples. None of a range of other potential chemicals of concern was [were] detected in the samples, but evidence is not yet sufficient to rule out the contribution of other chemicals, substances or product sources to the disease. The CDC has identified vitamin E acetate as a chemical of concern and recommends that vitamin E acetate not be added to any vapor products.|
|•||During the 2020 legislative session, the governor submitted request legislation (SB 6254) aimed at increasing regulation of vapor products in Washington. The bill included a ban of vitamin E acetate, however the legislature failed to pass SB 6254. Due to the clear association of vitamin E acetate with EVALI and absent legislative action to ban vitamin E acetate, SBOH determined that continuing a ban is necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare.|
Consistent with the statutory authority provided to the board by HB 2826, and upon the determination of SBOH that vitamin E acetate is a drug of concern and should be banned, the board adopted an emergency rule on May 27, 2020, as WAC 314-55-1065 under WSR 20-15-035, prohibiting the sale of vitamin E acetate. That emergency rule has been extended.
This extension of this emergency rule allows the board to take disciplinary action, without interruption, against any licensed marijuana retailer that fails to comply with the provisions of extended emergency rule WAC 314-55-1065 prohibiting the use of vitamin E acetate consistent with the authority of chapter 69.50
The board has the authority and responsibility to adopt rules for the preservation of public health. The immediate extension of rule that provides uninterrupted enforcement of WAC 314-55-1065, and preserves public health, safety, and general welfare is necessary. Therefore, the immediate extension of this emergency rule concerning enforcement provisions for WAC 314-55-1065 prohibiting the sale of vitamin E acetate is necessary.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at the Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's own Initiative: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: January 6, 2021.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 18-22-055, filed 10/31/18, effective 12/1/18)
WAC 314-55-079Marijuana retailer license—Privileges, requirements, and fees.
(1) A marijuana retailer license allows the licensee to sell only useable marijuana, marijuana concentrates, marijuana-infused products, marijuana paraphernalia, and lockable boxes to store marijuana at retail in licensed retail outlets to persons twenty-one years of age and older, except as allowed for persons under twenty-one years of age consistent with RCW 69.50.357
and WAC 314-55-080.
(2) The WSLCB may accept applications for marijuana retail licenses at time frames published on its website at www.lcb.wa.gov. Using estimated consumption data and population data obtained from the office of financial management (OFM) population data, the WSLCB will determine the maximum number of marijuana retail locations per county.
(a) The number of retail locations will be determined using a method that distributes the number of locations proportionate to the most populous cities within each county and to accommodate the medical needs of qualifying patients and designated providers. Locations not assigned to a specific city will be at large. At large locations can be used for unincorporated areas in the county or in cities within the county that have no retail licenses designated.
(b) The number of retail licenses determined by the board can be found on the WSLCB website at www.lcb.wa.gov.
(3) Any entity and/or principals within any entity are limited to no more than five retail marijuana licenses.
(4) Application and license fees.
(a) The application fee for a marijuana retailer's license is two hundred fifty dollars. The applicant is responsible for fees required by the approved vendor for fingerprint evaluation.
(b) The annual fee for issuance and renewal of a marijuana retailer license is one thousand three hundred eighty-one dollars. The WSLCB will conduct random criminal history checks at the time of renewal that will require the licensee to submit fingerprints for evaluation from the approved vendor. The licensee is responsible for all fees required for the criminal history checks.
(5) Internet sales and delivery of product to customers are prohibited.
(6) Sales of marijuana-infused products not permissible under WAC 314-55-077 are prohibited.
(7) Marijuana retailers may not sell marijuana products below the current acquisition cost.
(8) All marijuana products must be stored behind a counter or other barrier to ensure a customer does not have direct access to the product.
(9) A marijuana retailer may not sell lockable boxes for less than the cost of acquisition or sell boxes received as a donation. The donation of lockable boxes must come from a person or entity that is not a licensed marijuana producer, processor, or retailer.
(10) Marijuana retailer licensees are allowed to have a maximum of four months of their average inventory on their licensed premises at any given time.
(11) A marijuana retailer may transport product to other locations operated by the licensee or to return product to a marijuana processor as outlined in WAC 314-55-085.
(12) A marijuana retailer may accept returns of open marijuana products. Products must be returned in their original packaging with the lot, batch, or inventory ID number fully legible.
(13) A marijuana retailer may dispose of marijuana products as provided in WAC 314-55-097.
(14) The board may take disciplinary action against any marijuana retailer that fails to comply with the provisions of WAC 314-55-1065.