Article: New rules help open WA cannabis industry to those with criminal records

CANNANNEW REPORT

Crosscut report The changes are part of a larger push to reduce barriers to entering the legal marijuana system. After blocking dozens of people with criminal records from entering the legal marijuana industry, Washington state officials managing the 9-year-old industry are preparing to chill out a bit. Right now, a past felony conviction can be enough to prevent people from getting a license they need to grow, process or sell cannabis on the legal market. But a new rule set to go into effect early next month relaxes those restrictions, making it easier for people with criminal records — including those convicted of selling the now-legal drug — to participate in the industry. Under the old rules, a felony conviction in the past decade could essentially derail an application for a license. Recent misdemeanor convictions also counted against applicants under the old rules, and applicants would be dinged for any old misdemeanor or felony convictions they failed to disclose. With the new system, which will go into effect Oct. 2, a serious felony conviction within the past 10 years will still trigger an in-depth review of a person’s application — but the rules no longer state that people with felonies will normally be denied licenses. Less serious felonies also will be treated differently; going forward, one Class C felony on a person’s record won’t be enough to hold up their license application. Similarly, if someone has less than three misdemeanor convictions in the past three years, that won’t be enough to prompt a deeper review. Forgetting to report an old misdemeanor from juvenile court won’t count against applicants anymore, either, since the state is running its own criminal history check anyway. Read full article at. https://crosscut.com/equity/2021/09/new-rules-help-open-wa-pot-industry-those-criminal-records

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