Follow Up to Regulated Communities and Stakeholders

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January 9, 2019


To:         Regulated Communities and Stakeholders

Fr:          Rick Garza, Director

Re:         Follow Up to Regulated Communities and Stakeholders 


Independent Enforcement Review

The 2019 legislative session included legislation (SB 5318) that strongly emphasized the LCB’s focus to be on compliance and education rather than just enforcement when overseeing the regulated cannabis marketplace. Following the 2019 legislative session, the LCB hired an independent, respected organization (Hillard Heintze) to review and report on all aspects of our Enforcement Division’s operations, organizational structure, and management.


Without direct involvement from LCB staff, HH led: interviews with industry members, interviews with cannabis and alcohol trade organizations, forums on each side of the state and interviews with a handful of agency staff. Last week, HH released its final report that included 18 recommendations. There were three themes that emerged in the HH recommendations:

  1. Interpretations of agency decisions (rules, policies, etc.) are inconsistently communicated and applied not only within the agency but with the regulated community as well;
  2. A lack of transparency and understanding by stakeholders exists about agency decisions and interpretations; and
  3. Stronger outreach, communication, education, and collaboration with the industry is needed to help them understand and comply with laws, rules and policy.


The LCB welcomes and accepts the recommendations in the Hillard Heintze review. In fact, there was nothing in the report that came as a complete surprise. It affirmed many concerns we’ve heard previously or were action points already begun or planned for in the near future. For example, the agency has already taken steps to restructure the enforcement penalty guidelines, the recent Enforcement Division re-organization to revise policy/procedures and develop expertise, and the Licensing Division implemented dozens of collaborative actions in 2019 to increase communication and effectiveness between the two divisions.


Implementing the Recommendations

The LCB will be adopting the recommendations in the report – starting with those things we can implement within the first six months. The steps we are taking will impact the agency overall. We will make changes throughout the agency that will reflect the agency’s commitment to transparency and fundamental change. Highlights include:


  • Revising the agency mission statement revision to reflect our “education” role;
  • Revising the enforcement officer’s position description and the division’s policies and procedures to emphasize the importance of outreach and education as well as the approach with licensees in the officer’s work;
  • Revising our apparel and firearm policies to reflect our commitment to education;
  • Reorganizing the Director’s Office to include a unit that will focus on outreach and education to further education, understanding and compliance within the industries we regulate;
  • The Director’s Office will also centralize our policy and rules coordination so that agency decisions can be consistently and clearly articulated with agency and staff and the industry. We are creating a Legal/Policy Team that will be the central source of developing and conveying agency decisions;
  • Decisions will be maintained in a central repository that staff and licensees may use to have a reliable, consistent answer going forward;

Thank you for your commitment to working together.  I look forward to our continued work together in 2020.