His research will help inform the board's three voting members as they decide what to require of the industry. All rules need to be finalized before the agency begins issuing licenses to retail stores in December.
Steenhout is traveling to marijuana grow operations, processors and testing labs in California, Colorado and Washington.
On his cellphone, he keeps video of a massive, 75,000-square-foot marijuana grow he visited in Colorado that he uses to impress the folks at the smaller Washington operations.
One morning recently, dressed in a green sweater, jeans and sneakers, Steenhout walked into a first-floor office in Seattle's University District — the Care Wellness Center, a clinic that writes authorizations for medical marijuana patients.
Steenhout was there for presentations from Cale Burkhart, who makes marijuana-infused lotions, creams and tinctures, and from the proprietors of Analytical 360, a Seattle lab that tests marijuana and marijuana products for strength and impurities.
Clear glass mason jars filled with dried marijuana flowers, leaves and a viscous brown liquid — pot-infused, vegetable-based glycerine, a potent tincture that can be taken under the tongue with a medicine dropper — were lined up on a table as Burkhart spoke.
He described how the lab tests the strength of his infusions, and then gives him a formula to determine how much more glycerine he needs to add to dilute the tincture to its desired potency, 75 milligrams per fluid ounce.
Burkhart keeps records for every batch noting how it was made, at what temperature the glycerine was infused, how strong it was before dilution and other details.
Steenhout took notes on a white legal pad in a folder on his lap, examined small jars containing Burkhart's products, such as a muscle-and-joint rub made with pot, mint oil and cayenne pepper, and asked questions that betrayed how far his education has come.