Washington State Liquor & Cannabis Board Published April / May Issue of Topics & Trends Newsletter

Licensing Staff Continue Operations During the COVID-19 Response

Like all of you, Licensing has made modifications to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our commitment to the community’s health and safety is our top priority. We want to keep you informed of the changes we have made to our processes to support these goals in this era of social distancing.
All Licensing staff are working from home
Licensing Specialists and Cannabis Licensing Supervisors are available to assist you with your applications, questions, and business needs. Most Licensing Specialists are now available by phone and all are available by email. The Licensing Division is also using Skype for Business and can communicate with licensees who have Skype accounts.
If you need to send documents to the Licensing Division, please send them by email, fax (360-753-2710), or DocuSign. Documents sent by postal mail take us longer to assign because we do not have staff at the office to process mail every day.
For generic marijuana licensing questions, please email: marijuanalicensing@lcb.wa.gov

Governor’s Proclamation Allows LCB to Waive Late Excise Tax Payment Penalties

Governor Inslee recently signed Proclamation 20-26. This proclamation allowed the LCB by rule to waive the penalties for failure to timely remit tax payments to the LCB while the stay-at-home restrictions are in place. The waiver is made retroactive to the date of the governor’s declaration of a state of emergency on Feb. 29.
Please note that this does not waive taxes due, but temporarily allows for a late payment without assessing automatic, statute-directed penalties.
To be eligible for deferment, please:
  • Continue to submit sales reports timely, even if you are not able to pay on time; and
  • Submit requests to pay late to have penalties waived, by email at the following email address: marijuanataxes@lcb.wa.gov
Cannabis retailers can make e-check payments through their third party vendors. We also accept checks and money orders by mail.
Woman on business phone call looking at her laptop

Delays are Understandable

During this pandemic, Licensing understands that things may take more time and marijuana 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.

Family Support During COVID-19

As school buildings remain closed through the remainder of the academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, parents and caregivers may be feeling worried, anxious and uncertain about how to support their families. Parents and caregivers are critical in supporting the health and resiliency of the children in their lives.
The Washington Healthy Youth (WHY) Coalition is providing up-to-date resources, including articles about talking to youth about the COVID-19 pandemic, links to virtual parenting sessions and seminars, and ideas for keeping youth busy and engaged while staying at home. These resources are posted regularly on the Start Talking Now Facebook page .
At StartTalkingNow.org, parents and other caring adults can find resources on how to start the conversation about not using alcohol and marijuana.
Additionally, the Athena Forum has a variety of helpful webinars scheduled to help families navigate COVID-19. Register by clicking on the links.
Visit the Athena Forum  for more information.

Social Distancing in Retail Cannabis stores

The LCB fully supports social distancing efforts. If cannabis retailers choose to erect temporary barriers to promote social distancing between employees and customers without blocking cameras, Board approval will not be required at this time.
If you need to make structural changes to your floor plan, submit an email to our Compliance and Adjudications Manager, Nicola Reid at Nicola.Reid@lcb.wa.gov. Nicola will review your request and let you know if you can move forward with the change, or if an application is necessary.
In April, the LCB issued suggestions to all retailers for addressing special circumstances posed by COVID-19 pandemic. You can read that advisement here.

Unnecessary Stops During a Cannabis Transport

Enforcement has received questions surrounding WAC 314-55-085(5)(f), which reads,  “Any vehicle transporting marijuana or marijuana products must travel directly from the shipping licensee to the receiving licensee and must not make any unnecessary stops in between except to other facilities receiving product.” 
The WSLCB understands that there are many reasons a driver may need to stop while making deliveries.  An example of a necessary stop can include, but is not limited to: bathroom breaks, refueling the transport vehicle, dining and overnight sleep.  We understand that drivers need rest for the safety of themselves and others.
For security purposes, we ask that you continue to comply with WAC 315-55-085 (5) (a) through (g).
 An unnecessary stop might include a family trip to the park, a pit stop to a casino, or a lengthy visit at a friend’s house.  The requirements surrounding why a stop may be deemed unnecessary are mainly focused on the security of the transport vehicle’s contents and the length of the stop.   We ask transporters to use good judgement when deciding if a stop is necessary.  If you have concerns or issues along the way, please feel free to reach out to your officer for help.
This article does not apply to those licensed under the Transportation License (314-55-310).

Social Distancing with Cannabis Plants and Waste

If you want to temporarily adjust your floor plans by moving plants apart for social distancing purposes, please send requests to Nicola.Reid@lcb.wa.gov and Kevin.Milovac@lcb.wa.gov.

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!

WSLCB Enforcement Participates at Washington State Joint Information Center for COVID-19

The Liquor and Cannabis Board Enforcement and Education Unit is helping to staff the COVID-19 Compliance Response Team. The COVID-19 Compliance Response team is functioning as part of the Corona Virus Unified Command Center, commonly being referred to as the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) or Joint Information Center (JIC) stationed at Camp Murray, WA. The team is staffed by representatives from Department of Health, Labor and Industries, Department of Licensing and the LCB.
Community members report suspected violations of the Governor’s Proclamation through a web based complaint form at https://coronavirus.wa.gov. Once the form is completed and submitted, an LCB officer, or a representative from another participating agency, reviews the complaint to identify which agency is responsible for responding or if the complaint should be sent to a local law enforcement agency.
Complaints involving liquor, cannabis, tobacco, or vape licensees are, forwarded to the LCB at a newly designated email address: covidenforcement@lcb.wa.gov. The only exception is a complaint involving a grocery store when the only complaint is failing to require patrons to maintain a safe social distance.

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