Social equity program moves forward, other cannabis bills fail to pass

by <a href="mailto:sharons@awcnet.org">Sharon Swanson</a>, <a href="mailto:jacobe@awcnet.org">Jacob Ewing</a> | Mar 27, 2020
Before the 2020 session, the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) indicated their key legislative priority was to increase social equity by creating greater diversity in the retail cannabis market.

Before the 2020 session, the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) indicated their key legislative priority was to increase social equity by creating greater diversity in the retail cannabis market. While AWC did not oppose the underlying policy goal of creating greater social equity, we did object to the manner in which the LCB initially proposed achieving this goal.

The early drafts of HB 2870 created a new licensing structure for one subset of licenses and put the onus on cities to decide how many minority-operated marijuana retailers should exist in their communities. Additionally, cities were put in the position of weighing the qualifications of applicants' social equity plans before passing them on to the LCB. Finally, AWC objected to the optics of forcing cities to either be in favor of additional cannabis retailers or against social equity.

AWC met with the LCB to address our concerns and testified in opposition to the approach taken in the original bill as drafted. Ultimately, the legislation was amended to establish a Marijuana Social Equity Program that authorizes the LCB to issue previously forfeited, cancelled, revoked, and unissued marijuana retailer licenses to eligible applicants adversely impacted by the enforcement of marijuana prohibition laws.

Additionally, the legislation establishes a Marijuana Social Equity Task Force to make recommendations to the LCB on the program, including how to establish and develop the program and whether additional retail licenses should be issued. AWC is a member of the task force.

Of the many other cannabis bills introduced, most did not advance out of their respective committees. AWC continues to monitor and protect the right of local control in regard to cannabis legislation.

Bill #

Description

Status

HB 2870/SB 6604

Establishes a Marijuana Social Equity Program under the Liquor and Cannabis rd

HB 2870 delivered to Governor. If signed, effective June 11, 2020.

HB 1131/SB 5155

Adjust regulations pertaining to residential marijuana possession

Did not pass

HB 2321/SB 6333

Limits advertising for cannabis and vapor products

Did not pass

SB 6033

Adjust regulations pertaining to residential marijuana possession

Did not pass

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