LIQUOR AND CANNABIS
[Filed February 5, 2020, 12:12 p.m., effective February 5, 2020, 12:12 p.m.]
Effective Date of Rule: Immediately upon filing.
Purpose: Chapter 314-35 WAC, Vapor products, the Washington state liquor and cannabis board (board) has adopted emergency rules to create WAC 314-35-090 and 314-55-095 that establish summary license suspension and petition for stay provisions that are necessary for the enforcement of chapter 246-80 WAC concerning the prohibition of the use of vitamin E acetate. This filing supersedes and replaces emergency rules filed as WSR 19-21-182 on October 23, 2019.
Citation of Rules Affected by this Order: New WAC 314-35-090 and 314-35-095.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: Chapter 70.345
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: While the provisions of this emergency rule have not changed from the previous emergency rule filed as WSR 19-21-182 on October 23, 2019, the reasons supporting the necessity of this rule are modified as follows:
On November 20, 2019, the Washington state board of health (SBOH) found that the outbreak of lung disease continues to grow, and that the adoption of a rule prohibiting the sale of vapor products containing vitamin E acetate was necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, and general welfare. The SBOH relied on the following to support its finding:
|•||In July 2019, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local health departments, and other clinical and public health partners began investigating 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 November 13, 2019, there have been two thousand one hundred seventy-two confirmed cases reported across forty-nine states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands, including forty-two deaths confirmed in twenty-four states. Fourteen cases of lung injury 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, the CDC conducted laboratory tests of twenty-nine samples of fluid collected from the lungs of patients with vaping-associated lung disease from ten states. An article released on November 8, 2019, showed that all of the samples contained vitamin E acetate, providing direct evidence of vitamin E acetate at the primary site of injury in the lungs. Vitamin E acetate is a chemical that is used as an additive or thickening ingredient in vapor products. The CDC has not determined that vitamin E acetate is present in only THC vapor products or only non-THC vapor products. THC was identified in eighty-two percent of the samples, and nicotine was identified in sixty-two percent of the samples. None of a range of other potential chemicals of concern was 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 stated that, until the relationship of vitamin E acetate and lung health is better characterized, it is important that vitamin E acetate not be added to vapor products.|
These emergency rules serve a two-pronged purpose:
|•||Allow the board to serve an order of summary license suspension after a preliminary staff investigation indicates that a vapor product licensee has violated SBOH rules pertaining to the use of vitamin E acetate as described in chapter 246-80 WAC, and that immediate cessation of licensed activities is necessary for the presentation [preservation] of public health and welfare; and|
|•||Provide a framework and process for an affected vapor product licensee to petition the board for a stay of summary suspension, consistent with the provisions of chapter 34.05 RCW.|
The SBOH prohibition of vitamin E acetate (WAC 246-80-021(2)) provides, "No person including, but not limited to, a person licensed under chapter 69.50
RCW, may sell, offer for sale, or possess with intent to sell, or offer for sale vapor products containing vitamin E acetate. The foregoing prohibition applies to the sale, offer for sale, or possession with intent to sell or offer for sale vapor products containing vitamin E acetate at any location or by any means in this state including, but not limited to, by means of a telephonic or other method of voice transmission, the mail or any other delivery service, or the internet or other online service."
Because the outbreak of lung disease continues to grow, the immediate adoption of rule that establishes provisions for both the enforcement of chapter 246-80 WAC, and preservation of public health, safety and general welfare is necessary. Therefore, the immediate readoption of a rule establishing summary license suspension and petition for stay provisions is necessary for the enforcement of SBOH rule described in chapter 246-80 WAC, prohibiting the use of vitamin E acetate. The board has the authority and responsibility to adopt rules for the preservation of public health. These rules may be extended, rescinded or considered for inclusion in adopted rules at a later date as appropriate.
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 2, Amended 0, 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 2, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: February 5, 2020.
WAC 314-35-090Summary license suspension.
(1) The board may serve an order of summary suspension of any license under this chapter after the board's enforcement division has:
(a) Completed a preliminary staff investigation of a violation of state board of health rules, chapter 246-80 WAC; and
(b) Upon a determination that immediate cessation of the licensed activities is necessary for the protection or preservation of the public health, safety, or welfare.
(2) Suspension of any license under this section is effective twenty-four hours after personal service of the summary suspension order on the licensee or employee thereof, unless the licensee becomes compliant as provided in the order before the expiration of the twenty-four hour period.
(3) When a license has been summarily suspended by the board, an adjudicative proceeding must be promptly instituted before an administrative law judge assigned by the office of administrative hearings. If a request for an administrative hearing is timely filed by the licensee, then a hearing will be held within ninety calendar days of the effective date of the summary suspension ordered by the board. The ninety day period may be extended for good cause.
WAC 314-35-095Petition for stay.
(1) When the board summarily suspends a license under WAC 314-35-090, an affected licensee may petition the board for a stay of suspension. A petition for a stay of suspension must be received by the board within ten calendar days of service of the summary suspension order on the licensee. The petition for stay must clearly describe the basis for the stay.
(2) A hearing will be held before an administrative law judge within fourteen calendar days of receipt of a timely petition for stay. The hearing is limited to consideration of whether a stay should be granted, or whether the terms of the suspension will be modified to allow the conduct of limited activities under current licenses.
(3) Any hearing conducted under subsection (2) of this section will be a brief adjudicative proceeding under RCW 34.05.485
. The agency record for the hearing must consist of the documentary information upon which the summary suspension was based. The licensee is permitted to supplement the record with additional documentation during the brief adjudicative proceeding. The licensee must demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that:
(a) The licensee is likely to prevail upon the merits at hearing;
(b) Without relief, the licensee will suffer irreparable injury. For purposes of this section, income alone from licensed activities is not deemed irreparable injury;
(c) The grant of relief will not substantially harm other parties to the proceedings; and
(d) The threat to the public health, safety, or welfare is not sufficiently serious to justify continuation of the suspension, or that modification of the terms of the suspension will adequately protect the public interest.
(4) The initial order on stay is effective immediately upon service unless another date is specified in the order.