Task force members heard progress reports from work group leaders and WSLCB licensing staff while the public voiced complaints about the pace of task force work and the absence of the former co-chair.
After work group members identified themselves and staff went over scope and responsibilities, questions were raised about who could contract as a social equity mentor and how to qualify for grants.
Members introduced themselves, heard about their work group responsibilities, and began exploring potential changes to cannabis business licensing for social equity applicants.
An extensive briefing by WSLCB staff on past cannabis business licensing windows provoked a lively Q&A on the prospective social equity program application process.
A history of racial discrimination in the American drug war and Washington state’s legal industry was described by a task force member, guest presenter, and commenters from inside and outside the industry.
Senators heard a status report on the social equity task force, concerns from past and prospective applicants, and a rebuttal from WSLCB staff on licensing decision making.
On Monday, legislators in both chambers planned to review social equity within the cannabis industry, medical marijuana, a proposed cannabis commission, and the WSLCB’s status.
Participants secured the WSLCB’s commitment to refund withdrawn application licensing fees in a prelude to the first meeting of the Task Force on Social Equity in Cannabis.
WSLCB leadership listened during more than two hours of community feedback, provided some feedback of their own, and shared new details about the Social Equity in Cannabis Task Force.
An at times contentious facilitated meeting provided an opportunity for agency leadership to hear from people of color about social equity in the industry and WSLCB’s practices.