69.50.335  <<  69.50.336 >>   69.50.339

Social equity in cannabis task force. (Expires June 30, 2023.)

(1) A legislative task force on social equity in cannabis is established. The purpose of the task force is to make recommendations to the board including but not limited to establishing a social equity program for the issuance and reissuance of existing retail, processor, and producer cannabis licenses, and to advise the governor and the legislature on policies that will facilitate development of a cannabis social equity program.
(2) The members of the task force are as provided in this subsection.
(a) The president of the senate shall appoint one member from each of the two largest caucuses of the senate.
(b) The speaker of the house of representatives shall appoint one member from each of the two largest caucuses of the house of representatives.
(c) The president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives shall jointly appoint:
(i) One member from each of the following:
(A) The commission on African American affairs;
(B) The commission on Hispanic affairs;
(C) The governor's office of Indian affairs;
(D) An organization representing the African American community;
(E) An organization representing the Latinx community;
(F) A labor organization involved in the cannabis industry;
(G) The liquor and cannabis board;
(H) The department of commerce;
(I) The office of the attorney general; and
(J) The association of Washington cities;
(ii) Two members that currently hold a cannabis retail license;
(iii) Two members that currently hold a producer license; and
(iv) Two members that currently hold a processor license.
(3) In addition to the members appointed to the task force under subsection (2) of this section, individuals representing other sectors may be invited by the chair of the task force, in consultation with the other appointed members of the task force, to participate in an advisory capacity in meetings of the task force.
(a) Individuals participating in an advisory capacity under this subsection are not members of the task force, may not vote, and are not subject to the appointment process established in this section.
(b) There is no limit to the number of individuals who may participate in task force meetings in an advisory capacity under this subsection.
(c) A majority of the task force members constitutes a quorum. If a member has not been designated for a position set forth in this section, that position may not be counted for the purpose of determining a quorum.
(4) The task force shall hold its first meeting by July 1, 2020. The task force shall elect a chair from among its legislative members at the first meeting. The election of the chair must be by a majority vote of the task force members who are present at the meeting. The chair of the task force is responsible for arranging subsequent meetings and developing meeting agendas.
(5) Staff support for the task force, including arranging the first meeting of the task force and assisting the chair of the task force in arranging subsequent meetings, must be provided by the health equity council of the governor's interagency coordinating council on health disparities. The responsibility for providing staff support for the task force must be transferred to the office of equity created under chapter 43.06D RCW when requested by the office of equity.
(6) Legislative members of the task force may be reimbursed for travel expenses in accordance with RCW 44.04.120. Nonlegislative members are not entitled to be reimbursed for travel expenses if they are elected officials or are participating on behalf of an employer, governmental entity, or other organization. Any reimbursement for other nonlegislative members is subject to chapter 43.03 RCW.
(7) The task force is a class one group under chapter 43.03 RCW.
(8) A public comment period must be provided at every meeting of the task force.
(9) The task force shall submit one or more reports on recommended policies that will facilitate the development of a cannabis social equity program in Washington to the governor, the board, and the appropriate committees of the legislature. The task force is encouraged to submit individual recommendations, as soon as possible, to facilitate the board's early work to implement the recommendations. The final recommendations must be submitted by December 9, 2022. The recommendations must include:
(a) Factors the board must consider in distributing the licenses currently available from cannabis retailer licenses that have been subject to forfeiture, revocation, or cancellation by the board, or cannabis retailer licenses that were not previously issued by the board but could have been issued without exceeding the limit on the statewide number of cannabis retailer licenses established by the board before January 1, 2020;
(b) Whether any additional cannabis producer, processor, or retailer licenses should be issued beyond the total number of licenses that have been issued as of June 11, 2020. For purposes of determining the total number of licenses issued as of June 11, 2020, the total number includes licenses that have been forfeited, revoked, or canceled;
(c) The social equity impact of altering residential cannabis agriculture regulations;
(d) The social equity impact of shifting primary regulation of cannabis production from the board to the department of agriculture, including potential impacts to the employment rights of workers;
(e) The social equity impact of removing nonviolent cannabis-related felonies and misdemeanors from the existing point system used to determine if a person qualifies for obtaining or renewing a cannabis license;
(f) Whether to create workforce training opportunities for underserved communities to increase employment opportunities in the cannabis industry;
(g) The social equity impact of creating new cannabis license types; and
(h) Recommendations for the cannabis social equity technical assistance grant program created under RCW 43.330.540.
(10) The board may adopt rules to implement the recommendations of the task force. However, any recommendation to increase the number of retail outlets above the current statewide limit of retail outlets, established by the board before January 1, 2020, must be approved by the legislature.
(11) This section expires June 30, 2023.

NOTES:

IntentFinding2022 c 16: See note following RCW 69.50.101.
FindingsIntent2020 c 236: See note following RCW 69.50.335.
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