The mayor of Seattle, Washington has submitted three cannabis-related bills to the city council intended to address social equity in the industry. The legislation proposed by Mayor Bruce Harrell was developed in partnership with Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda and cannabis industry stakeholders and employees.
The bill package would:
- Create a city-level social equity license;
- Lay the groundwork for future cannabis-related businesses, in collaboration with the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, to also issue licenses through a social equity framework;
- Require a 90-day retention of store workforce when ownership changes, similar to protections created for hotel workers in the city in 2019;
- Create a short-term cannabis advisory committee, selected in collaboration with City Council to collect input on cannabis equity and needs from workers, community members, and industry leaders;
- Implement a needs assessment to understand additional steps to make the industry more robust and sustainable for diverse communities;
- Collaborate with county and community efforts to further the work of expunging convictions for cannabis-related crimes prior to 2014, and;
- Develop a state and federal legislative agenda promoting cannabis equity, along with safety improvements, capital investments, and access to banking services.
“As the cannabis industry continues to develop, we must course correct and support the communities who too often have been left behind. Equity in this industry means safe working conditions and fair treatment for workers, store ownership that includes the communities most impacted by the war on drugs, and a commitment to fairness, innovation, and opportunity.” — Harrell in a statement
Mosqueda added that the “legislation represents an initial step in the right direction towards creating local equity applications, improving workforce standards, and focusing on safety for workers in the cannabis industry.”
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