Washington Governor Signs Bill Expanding Social Equity Licenses

Washington Governor Signs Bill Expanding Social Equity Licenses

Washington plans to add dozens of cannabis retailers to its existing adult market over the next decade after the governor signed the bill into law on Monday.

The bill, signed by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, aims to strengthen social equity in the state’s legal marijuana program.

Under the terms of the new law, the State Liquor and Cannabis Commission will allow individuals eligible for the Social Equity Program between January 1, 2024 and July 1, 2032 to “up to 52 to issue licenses for cannabis retailers.

According to Axios, this represents “almost 10% more than the current number of licensed potshops, which has been limited to 556 statewide since 2016.”

According to the bill’s official outline, Individuals eligible for social equity programs are those who: Consultation with other designated entities; at least 51% ownership and control by at least one of her individuals convicted of cannabis offenses, drug offenses, or who is a family member of such individuals; have. or, after consultation with other designated entities, meets the criteria defined in the LCB Rules. ”

The bill would also “waive annual fees and provide a one-time, one-license annual fee refund to current cannabis licensees who submit social equity plans. [the Liquor and Cannabis Board],” According to the press release From a Democrat.

“Building pathways of opportunity and flexibility to people of color who are disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs is not only a moral imperative, it is critical to a more just and equitable society. It’s a big step.” Said Democratic State Senator Rebecca Saldanha, who sponsored the bill. “We heal the harm of the past through our commitment to action and change today.”

A Democratic lawmaker from Washington said state data reveals that “the vast majority of cannabis business owners in Washington are white, and just 4% of the state’s retail cannabis licenses went to black applicants.” The bill “helps create a more comprehensive cannabis license.” A program for black and brown business owners in Washington.

“The bill would also amend the program’s definitions of “disproportionately affected areas,” “social equity applicants,” and “social equity plans,” allowing cannabis licensees to receive social equity technical assistance. Change how long it takes to qualify for a grant. This will allow additional retail outlets to be established over time, give Social Equity licensees more flexibility in choosing locations, and also maintain local control over zoning and outlet density,” said Democrats. said in a press release.

Inslee, who announced this week that he would not be seeking a fourth term in next year’s gubernatorial election, said he would convene a special legislative session focused on “passing new drug possession laws.”

A special session is scheduled for May 16th.

The regular legislative session ends April 23 to pass a new drug possession law needed after “the Washington Supreme Court overturned the state’s felony drug possession laws in 2021 and ruled them unconstitutional.” The legislators there finished before they could. According to Washington public radio station KUOW.

“Legislators have introduced a temporary amendment that treats drug possession as a misdemeanor. That measure, known as the Blake Amendment, is set to expire in the summer,” the station reported.

Inslee said he and his office aide “have met with lawmakers from all four caucuses and are very optimistic about reaching an agreement that can pass through both houses.”

“Cities and counties are eager for statewide policies that balance accountability and treatment, and we believe we can craft a bipartisan bill that does just that. The leaders of the rally share a desire to pass the bill, and we believe that starting the clock on May 16 will pave the way for us to get the job done this month,” Inslee said. . statement on tuesday.

Alexandra Solorio
Introducing Alexandra, an accomplished cannabis writer who has passionately pursued her craft for a decade. Through a decade-long journey, Alexandra has cultivated a profound connection with the cannabis world, translating her expertise into captivating prose. From unraveling the plant's rich history to exploring its therapeutic marvels and legal evolution, she has adeptly catered to both connoisseurs and newcomers. An unwavering advocate, Alexandra's words not only enlighten but also advocate responsible cannabis use, establishing her as an indispensable industry voice over the past ten years.

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