Washington State Announces Social Equity Applications for March 1

Washington State Announces Social Equity Applications for March 1
High Times

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) has officially announced that it will open up social equity applications on March 1. The window for applications will only last 30 days, ending by 5 p.m. on the deadline. Only 44 licenses that were previously “forfeited, canceled, revoked, or never issued” are being made available to those who qualify. Applicants must have been living in a disproportionately impacted area (DIA), which is defined as having a high poverty rate, participation in “income-based federal programs,” unemployment, and rate of convictions, between 1980 to 2010. Applicants must have been convicted of a cannabis-related offense themselves, or know a family member who was convicted as well. Finally, the applicant’s income must be less than the state average, which is $82,400. The LCB has set up webinars for Jan. 24 and 28 in order to assist potential applicants through the licensing process. While social equity has become a standard in the industry, especially in states that have only recently legalized adult-use cannabis, Washington State’s initial legalization did not include these provisions.  “The 2012 ballot measure Initiative 502, which legalized recreational use of cannabis by adults, did not include provisions or create programs to acknowledge the disproportionate harms the enforcement of cannabis laws had on certain populations and communities,” the LCB stated. “The LCB recognizes that cannabis prohibition laws were disproportionately enforced for decades and that the cumulative harms from this enforcement remain today.” In March 2020, Gov. Jay Inslee signed House Bill 2870 (which was introduced to the legislature by Rep. Eric Pettigrew), which took effect on June 12, 2020. This created a state social equity program, a Social Equity Task Force, “…and the opportunity to provide a limited number of cannabis retail licenses to individuals disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition laws.”…

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