The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (the “LCB”) just announced that it will be holding two educational events regarding marijuana research license applications. The events will be held on July 18th in Shoreline and Ellensburg at 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m respectively. More information can be found here.
Many of my clients and others have been waiting since last year for the LCB to start issuing these research licenses. The hold-up has largely been due to the LCB’s extended search for a “Scientific Reviewer.” State statute requires all research applications to be reviewed and evaluated by a Scientific Reviewer to determine whether an application meets the state’s licensing criteria. Scientific Reviewers can be an educational institution, research institution, peer review body, etc.
It was originally hoped that University of Washington or Washington State University would act as a Scientific Reviewer. But neither institution volunteered. An independent consulting firm, Science Solutions, however, was recently named as a Scientific Reviewer. Representatives from both the LCB and Science Solutions will be present at the educational event to talk about the research application process and requirements.
The research license allows the licensee to produce, process and possess marijuana for limited research purposes. Existing marijuana licensees can apply as long as the research facility is wholly separated from the commercial marijuana business.
Initial applications for marijuana research licenses will be made with Washington State’s Business Licensing Services. Once the initial application is accepted, the applicant will need to submit additional application materials, which are described in WAC 314-55-073. Applicants are required to submit extensive documentation supporting their research plan and thus, prospective applicants would be wise to carefully review these rules sooner rather than later.
Issuance of marijuana research licenses in Washington State is a very important step for the legal marijuana market. Without the ability to conduct valid research trials, the industry is hamstrung in demonstrating the therapeutic and/or medicinal value of marijuana. Additionally, these licenses will give researchers the opportunity to develop new strains and products.
With all of the high tech and scientific industry in Washington State, there is no reason why we cannot be a global leader like Israel in the field of marijuana research. The more valid medicinal and therapeutic uses that researches are able to demonstrate for marijuana, the more likely it is that marijuana legalization will gain more and more traction on the federal level.
For more information on the regulation of marijuana businesses in Washington State, please contact Heather Wolf.