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Washington’s new law will help people of color get into the marijuana industry

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License applicants who have previously been convicted of marijuana-related crimes will now be eligible for a grant and expert advice to help them get started in the business.

OLYMPIA, Washington. The marijuana business in the United States is booming, but not everyone is reaping the benefits.

Gov. Jay Inslee, D-Washington, signed House bill 1443 in law Monday, which seeks to help minorities enter the states of the sale and manufacture of marijuana.

According to data provided by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, when asked to identify themselves by breed, 82% of licensed marijuana business owners in the states identified themselves as not being not a minority.

Data shows that 7% of homeowners said they were Asian, 4% said they were multiracial, 3% said they were black, and 2% said they were Hispanic.

Bill expands states Working Group on Social Equity in Cannabis, who called for some of the changes in the law.

License applicants who have previously been convicted of marijuana-related crimes, or who live in areas defined as being disproportionately affected, are now eligible for a grant and expert advice to help them get started in the company.

It’s a down payment on what Washington state owes its black residents, said Paula Sardinas, co-chair of the task force.

Those who were once banned from getting licenses, anyone convicted of marijuana related crimes, are not only now eligible, but they also have advantages over pot license applicants with no criminal background.

Practicing fairness in the cannabis industry is extremely important to inclusiveness in Washington state, D-Pierce County Representative Melanie Morgan told House members at the start of the legislative session.

Morgan sponsored the bill and co-chaired the task force with Sardinas.

The marijuana industry generates more than half a billion dollars each year for drug-related health, education and law enforcement programs, according to the Liquor and Cannabis Board.

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