Washington State to Award Unused Cannabis Licenses for Social Equity Program

Green Market report write

Existing license holders under the state’s social equity program will also benefit from the amendment.

In an effort to promote diversity in Washington’s cannabis industry, Gov. Jay Inslee signed an amendment into law on Monday authorizing the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board to award 46 previously forfeited or never used cannabis licenses to social equity applicants this year.

This initiative, led by Seattle State Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, aims to address the imbalance in the industry, where approximately 82% of cannabis retail businesses are not minority-owned, according to LCB data.

Social equity applicants in the state are defined by the law as individuals residing in areas disproportionately affected by cannabis arrests, convictions, or incarceration, or those who have been arrested for such offenses.

First reported by Law360, Saldaña highlighted the importance of providing opportunities for people of color adversely affected by the war on drugs, calling it a “crucial step towards a more just and equitable society.”

The LCB expressed its support for the law in a statement on Monday, acknowledging board member Ollie Garrett’s advocacy for the legislation and her concerns regarding the lack of diversity in the state’s regulated cannabis industry over the past four years. The LCB operates the state’s Social Equity in Cannabis Program.

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Washington State to Award Unused Cannabis Licenses for Social Equity Program

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