Felons Can Now Get Cannabis Licenses in Washington State

High Times

Felons will no longer be automatically barred from getting a cannabis license in Washington State, beginning next Saturday on October 2. Several updates to the rule now allow some people with serious felonies to obtain cannabis licenses, on a case-by-case basis. That’s thanks to a new rule set by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board that will go into effect shortly. Anyone who obtains a license must first pass an obligatory background check, but now, a felony on a record won’t necessarily be an automatic disqualifier. Serious felony convictions within the past 10 years, however, will still trigger deeper scrutiny of a person’s application. But the rules no longer bar people with felonies from receiving a license.  The protocol for less serious felonies also was updated. Specifically, one Class C felony on a record won’t automatically bar their license application. In addition, if someone has fewer than three misdemeanor convictions in the past three years, that won’t be enough to prompt a deeper review.  Failure to report an old misdemeanor from juvenile court won’t count against applicants anymore, either. With a strong focus on social equity in recent years, the rule change is being celebrated by cannabis business people because it allows people who were arrested at disproportionate rates to enter the legal industry. “I think it’s great what the state is doing in terms of allowing people who have issues in the past, to be able to qualify,” Tran Du, co-owner of Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis in Seattle, told KOMO News. The idea behind the rule change is that people who were arrested at disproportionate rates for cannabis shouldn’t be barred from participating in the industry, now that it’s legal. “We wanted to bring parity in the disproportionality that we saw from the leftover of the war on drugs…

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