Retail Safety Update from LCB Chair David Postman

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April 19, 2022

Retail Safety Update from LCB Chair David Postman

As many of you know, the Liquor and Cannabis (LCB) has been focused on helping licensed cannabis retailers deal with the recent surge in violent armed robberies of cannabis stores.


Our largest gathering so far was a roundtable discussion held by the board on March 29. You can read the transcript of that discussion here. We had more than 200 people on line who heard from four retailers, State Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti, Senators Keiser and Nobles, Rep. Chambers, and a representative from the National Cannabis Industry Association.


A key message from retailers at the March 29 Roundtable was for the state to “not wait to act until our plans are perfect.” We have taken that to heart and have been working hard to take action on solutions available to us. Here are some of what has happened since that event:

  • Retailers’ Session with Law Enforcement. On April 12, LCB Enforcement and Education director, Chandra Brady, convened a licensee’s-only on-line session with law enforcement to discuss best practices for safe operations in light of the crime surge. We had presenters from Olympia, Seattle, Bellevue and Tacoma police departments and the Pierce and King county sheriffs’ offices.

  • Seeking Crime Prevention Training Contract. The LCB is working to see if we can issue a contract for in-person crime prevention training.

  • Governor-Convened Meeting on Cashless Options. The governor’s office convened a meeting with financial industry representatives and retailers with state officials to discuss cash-less options for store operations. The Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) described the various businesses operating in the state today and LCB CFO James Morgan explained that all of those options are allowed under our rules.

DFI is creating a website that lists third-party business that provide cashless options to retailers. The LCB and DFI will issue a joint message to retailers later today directing retailers to DFI’s website. The next step being considered is a larger meeting with retailers statewide to more fully explain available options and what else could be done under current federal restrictions.

  • SAFE Banking Act. There is a lot of work going on to let Congress know how important it is to pass the SAFE Act to lift restrictions on banks doing business with cannabis licensees. Myself and and others met with staff to Sen. Murray the week of April 11. Sen. Murray’s staff assured us that the senator remains a staunch advocate of the bill.

As you may know, the concern is that Senate sponsors of a national legalization bill are reluctant to pass SAFE without the bigger bill. They say they don’t want to continue to advance the current cannabis industries around the country before national legislation is in place with criminal justice reform and a mandate for a more equitable system.


The issue is part of the America COMPETES Act, an unrelated economic development and trade bill. That House passed COMPETES with SAFE in it but the Senate stripped everything from the Act, forcing it to a conference committee.


Senators Murray and Cantwell and Rep. Del Bene are conferees and the governor and others will be reaching out to them to discuss the need to act now.


Gov. Inslee, Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti and others will be issuing a letter to Congress. To coincide with the letter, Gov. Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson jointly penned an op-ed published today that calls on Congress to act.

  • Potential Legislation. A small group of agency and governor’s office staff will be convening to discuss possible legislation to help licensees. Those conversations will include discussion of the idea of a tax credit for licensees who make safety improvements to operations.

  • Labor & Industries Workplace Safety. LCB staff met with Labor & Industries to discuss worker safety regulations and the role of L&I as it pertains to workplace safety. There are things happening in that realm and we expect L&I to be communicating with the industry as a whole about expectations.

We look forward to continued engagement with industry members. Thank you for your review.


David Postman

Chair, Liquor and Cannabis Board