Business, News, Politics

WA Loosens Criminal Background Checks for Cannabis License Applicants

September 28, 2021 01:58 pm ET

A rule prohibiting convicted felons in the state of Washington from obtaining a cannabis license is set to change next month.

Currently, residents interested in selling or growing cannabis in the state must pass a criminal background check, making anyone with a felony or a few misdemeanor convictions ineligible. Starting Oct. 2, felonies and jail time will be scrutinized but not treated as immediate disqualifiers for cannabis licenses.

The move comes about in an effort to increase access to the cannabis industry—particularly for marginalized groups unduly targeted for drug use and trafficking. “We wanted to bring parity in the disproportionality that we saw from the leftover of the war on drugs and that Black people were being arrested and brown people were being arrested disproportionately,” said Rep. Melanie Morgan (D), chair of the state’s Social Equity on Cannabis Task Force.

Apply For Your Medical Marijuana Card Today

  • Veriheal has satisfied hundreds of thousands of patients nationwide
  • Get approved or your money back
  • Appointments available on-demand
  • Customer support available 24/7

Assessing decades of data in the state, the Marijuana Arrest Research Project found that although Black people and Latinos use cannabis at lower rates than white people, they were arrested for cannabis-related crimes at 2.9 times and 1.6 times the rate of white people respectively. One cannabis grower called the state’s original system “extremely racist” for preventing minorities who took part in illegal cannabis distribution in the past from participating in the now-legal industry.

According to the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board, only 1% of licensed cannabis growing and processing businesses in Washington state are owned by Black people, compared to the 81% majority-white ownership of cannabis retail shops.

The Liquor and Cannabis Board has already adopted the new rule and is currently looking into proposals to reserve state cannabis licenses for communities harmed by the war on drugs.

Post Your Comments

Veriheal Banner Ad 1_300 x 250
{"post_type":"post","post_status":"publish","posts_per_page":3,"post__not_in":[17859,24094,24212,24176,22736,22123,24521,24561,24475,24174,24263,24446]}

Latest News

October 2, 2022
Prevalence, Demographics, Use Patterns, and Health Indicators of U.S. Cannabis Consumers

For many people, cannabis has become the vice of choice- leaving behind alcohol and other illicit substances. Which makes sense when one…

September 28, 2022
Ask a Budtender: Is Cannabis Covered by Health Insurance?

Question: I live in a state with legal cannabis and started shopping at my local dispensary a few times a month. I’m grateful…

September 25, 2022
Ask a Budtender: What Cannabis Products Are Best for Teachers?

Question: I’m a teacher, and I start another year of teaching next week and really need your help! Over the summer I was…