The Social Equity Retail Cannabis Program is not accepting applications yet. The Liquor and Cannabis Board, which will administer the program has created a social equity program website. This website will serve as the best resource for updates and questions.
Purpose and Responsibilities
The Social Equity in Cannabis Task Force is responsible for making recommendations to the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) to establish a social equity program for the issuance and reissuance of existing retail cannabis licenses. The Task Force is also charged with advising the Governor and Legislature on policies that will facilitate social equity in the cannabis industry. The Task Force must submit a final report to the Legislature and Governor by December 9, 2022. The report must include recommendations on the following:
- Factors LCB must consider in distributing currently available cannabis retail licenses (i.e., subject to forfeiture, revocation, or cancellation by LCB) or those that were not previously issued; and
- Whether any additional retail, producer, or processor licenses should be issued beyond the total number of licenses that have been issued as of June 11, 2020.
- The social equity impact of altering residential cannabis agriculture regulations.
- The social equity impact of shifting regulation of cannabis production from LCB to the Washington State Department of Agriculture, including impacts to the employment rights of workers.
- The social equity impact of removing nonviolent cannabis related charges from the existing point system used to determine qualification for cannabis licenses.
- Whether to create workforce training opportunities for underserved communities to increase employment opportunities in the cannabis industry.
- The social equity impact of creating new cannabis license types.
- Recommendations for the cannabis social equity technical assistance grant program.
Task Force Goal
The Task Force will make recommendations to promote business ownership among individuals who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs, in order to remedy the harms resulting from the enforcement of cannabis-related laws. The Task Force will work to center the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities that have been most impacted by enforcement of cannabis-related laws.
RCW 69.50.336, amended by ESHB 1443 (Chapter 169, Laws of 2021), directs the Governor’s Interagency Council on Health Disparities to staff the Task Force. RCW 69.50.335 gives authority to the LCB to create the Social Equity Retail Cannabis Program. RCW 43.330.540 gives authority to the Washington State Department of Commerce to create the Social Equity Technical Assistance Grant Program.
Washington State House of Representatives, Republican Caucus
|Rep. Kelly Chambers|
|Washington State House of Representatives, Democratic Caucus||Rep. Debra Entenman|
|Washington State Senate, Democratic Caucus||Sen. Rebecca Saldaña|
|Washington State Senate, Republican Caucus||Sen. Curtis King|
|Commission on African American Affairs (CAAA)||Dorian Waller|
|Commission on Hispanic Affairs (CHA)||Carmen Rivera|
|Governor's Office of Indian Affairs (GOIA)||Craig Bill|
|Organization representing African American Community||Michelle Merriweather|
|Organization representing Latinx Community||David Mendoza|
|Labor Organization Involved in Cannabis Industry||Joe Solorio|
|Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB)||Ollie Garrett|
|Department of Commerce||Alison Beason|
|Advisory Member||Paul Brice|
|Attorney General's Office||Joyce Bruce|
|Association of Washington Cities|
|Individual Currently Holding a Cannabis Retail License||Tamara Berkley|
|Individual Currently Holding a Cannabis Retail License||Pablo Antonio Gonzalez|
|Individual Currently Holding a Producer License||Raft Hollingsworth|
|Individual Currently Holding a Producer License||Monica Martinez|
|Cannabis Processor||Jim Makoso|
|Cannabis Processor||Micah Sherman|
Staff Contact Information
Project Manager, Social Equity in Cannabis Task Force
Washington State Board of Health
Subscribe to the Social Equity in Cannabis Email Distribution List
Send us an email and we will add your name to our email distribution list. You will receive news about task force work and information about future meetings, including agendas, meeting materials, and meeting minutes.
Meeting Dates and Materials
In the News
"Rep. Melanie Morgan on Social Equity in Cannabis: An Interview," Potguide.com, 01/20/22
"Social equity in Washington state cannabis industry at stake in legislative bills, licensing," The Seattle Times, 04/07/21
"LCB begins listening sessions for Social Equity Task Force," The Tacoma Weekly, 10/6/20
"Black-owned pot shops are rare in WA. Can a task force fix that?" Crosscut, 12/29/20