Washington No Longer Automatically Denies Cannabis Licenses for Felons

Washington state will no longer automatically deny cannabis license applications from felons. Starting next month, felonies will be scrutinized but not immediately disqualify an applicant.

Full story after the jump.

Starting next month, individuals with felony or misdemeanor convictions will no longer be automatically barred from receiving a cannabis license in Washington State, KOMO News reports. Under the new rules, felonies will still be scrutinized but will no longer be an automatic disqualifier.

Rep. Melanie Morgan (D), chair the state Social Equity on Cannabis Task Force, said officials “wanted to bring parity in the disproportionality” in the arrest rates between Black and brown people for cannabis crimes compared to white people.

“The bottom line is bringing parity to the industry and making sure that Black and brown people have equal access to this industry in ownership.” – Morgan to KOMO News

A Marijuana Arrest Research Project study found that although Black people and Latinos use cannabis at lower rates than white people, Black people were arrested for cannabis-related crimes at 2.9 times the rate of white people and Latinos were arrested at 1.6 times the rate.

According to the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB), the board will now perform a “threshold review” of applicants’ criminal histories and will take into consideration time since the conviction, nature of the offense, the relationship of the offense to the nature of the work performed, number of offenses, and any relevant rehabilitation associated with the crime.

The rule has already been adopted by the LCB and takes effect on October 2.

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