Washington Considers Point System for Social Equity Cannabis Licenses

Washington state officials are considering a points-based social equity licensing model that is preferential to individuals who were previously convicted of cannabis-related crimes.

Full story after the jump.

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) is considering a program to allow individuals convicted of a cannabis-related crime and who served prison time preferential licensing for adult-use cannabis permits, FOX 13 reports. Brian Smith, director of communications for the LCB, noted that the agency is holding 40 licenses for social-equity applicants.

“Our intent is to be able to reach applicants that were disproportionally harmed by the war on drugs.” — Smith to FOX 13

The license consideration by the LCB comes as lawmakers in Seattle are considering their own social equity package. If the LCB adopts the new regime, the city will adopt the same rules and set aside $1 million in grant money for social equity licensees, the report says.

In 2020, state lawmakers created the Washington State Legislative Task Force on Social Equity in Cannabis which makes recommendations to the LCB on the issuance of retail cannabis licenses. The preferential licenses were pitched by the task force.

Smith indicated that there are several criteria an applicant needs to qualify including living in an area that was disproportionally harmed by the war on drugs. He said that the University of Washington is currently developing a map of where those areas in the state are located.

Another criterion of the proposed rule includes social equity applicants or a family member of the applicant having been arrested or convicted of a cannabis offense.

Applicants will be scored on a point system and the way the rule is proposed, individuals that were incarcerated for cannabis crimes will get additional points. If a person was fined for a cannabis offense, it’s 10 points, if they served probation, it’s 20 points, if they were sentenced to home detention, it’s 40 points, and for those who served time in jail or prison, it’s 80 points.

The LCB is set to hold a public hearing on the proposal on September 14.

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