It may be a small victory for Washington’s cannabis industry, which has been slow to bring social equity into the picture, but it’s a start. Yesterday, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell signed three new equity bills into law.
The bills signed into law are:
- CB 120391: Expresses the city’s intent to engage in cannabis equity, expunge cannabis convictions, provide work and funding, and develop a needs assessment to better support the workforce and industry most impacted by the War on Drugs
- CB 120392: Relates to licensing businesses, establishes social equity applicant criteria, sets fees, and expands the purposes for cannabis license issuance
- CB 120393: Requires employers act to develop job retention, security, and stability in the industry
At the signing, Mayor Harrell was joined by Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, who assisted with development of the legislation and sponsored the bills in council. Cannabis industry stakeholders and employees also helped develop the bills, including UFCW 3000, the Freedom Project, the Craft Cannabis Coalition, and Black Excellence in Cannabis.
“This is a first – but necessary – step toward equity long overdue in the cannabis industry,” said Mayor Harrell. “The work still to come will highlight additional opportunities for improvement in our current system, and I look forward to the recommendations that result from the Cannabis Needs Assessment. This work won’t be easy, but I believe together we can foster an open conversation between workers, community members and industry leaders to identify common priorities and align on efforts to advance our shared values of equity and restoration.”