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Washington LCB Adopts Emergency Rules on Pesticide Levels, Tax Payments & Product Recalls

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) issued an email yesterday informing of upcoming changes to three different facets of Washington’s cannabis regulations: action levels for disallowed pesticides, cannabis excise tax payments, and rules regarding marijuana product recalls.

The proposed action levels for disallowed pesticides will address the LCB’s current zero tolerance policy. Action levels dictate how much residue of a forbidden pesticide is allowed in a licensed production facility before suffering legal penalties. A zero tolerance policy is considered to be unfair because even the smallest trace of forbidden chemicals — many of which can be found in small quantities in nature or in most typical laboratories — could result in severe penalties. The LCB’s proposed action levels are based on research performed by the Oregon Health Authority and mirrors similar rules established in Oregon.

Another emergency rule change addresses the generally cash-based nature of legal cannabis. The proposal would require cannabis companies to issue their excise tax payments using “means other than cash.” The rules take effect July 1, 2016, after which licensees who typically pay in cash must start making excise tax payments using other means, such as “E-file, cashier’s checks, money orders, or personal/business checks.”

Product recalls have surfaced in legal cannabis as an unfortunate but important circumstance to consumer safety. According to the LCB’s email, the proposed product recall procedures “provide the ability to identify and remove products that have been found to pose a risk to public health in a fast and efficient manner. In addition the rules also provide licensees with the ability to withdraw products for reasons that are not related to public health risks, such as faulty packaging or aesthetic purposes.”

There will be a hearing about the product recalls proposal on July 13th. The meeting, during which public comment is encouraged, will start at 10 a.m. in the LCB Board Room in Olympia.

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