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Washington State Lawmakers Call State Cannabis Board Culture “Toxic”

The group of ten bipartisan lawmakers is calling for Gov. Inslee to rescind his appointment of cannabis regulator Russ Hauge.

Full story after the jump.

Ten state lawmakers in Washington have sent a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee decrying the “toxic culture” of the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB), according to a story by The Stranger.

Specifically, the bipartisan group is calling on Gov. Inslee to rescind his nomination of regulator Russ Hauge to the LCB.

The lawmakers include: Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center), Sen. John Braun (R-Centralia), Sen. Mark Schoesler (R-Ritzville), Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens), Sen. Guy Palumbo (D-Maltby), Rep. Brian Blake (D-Aberdeen), Rep. Kristine Reeves (D-Federal Way), Rep. Drew MacEwen (R-Union), Rep. Brandon Vick (R-Felida), and Rep. Steve Kirby (D-Tacoma)

The cannabis industry has long complained about the overly-restrictive LCB. In January, it was reported that the state Senate was moving to privately confirm Hauge to the post despite vocal resistance from the industry. Hauge’s re-appointment, however, appears to have been put on hold since news broke of the private confirmation attempt.

“We are united in our belief that you must hold the leaders at the top of the LCB accountable. Rejection of the toxic culture at LCB should start with not reappointing Mr. Hauge.” — Excerpt from the letter to Gov. Inslee, via the Stranger

Though there have been multiple complaints about the LCB, the industry’s main issue is overly harsh penalties — including even the complete removal of a business’ cannabis license — for minor rule violations that might not even be noticed in a different industry.

Gov. Inslee’s office said they had received the letter and were considering it but offered no comment.

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