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Washington state regulators are weighing the idea of giving people previously convicted of marijuana-related crimes preferential treatment for opening cannabis stores.
The Washington State Liquor Cannabis Board is considering the proposed initiative, which would use a points-based system to assign cannabis licenses to individuals.
Former convicts affected by the “war on drugs” policies of previous decades would receive preferential attention when opening cannabis stores under the proposed system.
“Our intent is to be able to reach candidates who have been disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs,” Brian Smith, director of communications for the Liquor Cannabis Board, told FOX 13.
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Points would be awarded to individuals based on their history of drug-related crime.
“You get points for as little as being arrested for, say, a marijuana conviction, but you get extra points if you’ve served jail time or jail time,” Smith said.
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Some Washington officials have indicated that race is a factor under consideration for the new policy.
“We recognize the disproportionate nature of the War on Drugs on the black community,” said Labor Relations Policy Advisor Brianna Thomas.
However, not everyone is thrilled with the idea.
Some entrepreneurs who already operate marijuana stores are skeptical of the proposed program’s effectiveness.
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“It will provide licenses for people who are not equipped to run a business like this,” a cannabis store owner told FOX 13.
Another cannabis store owner called the proposed policy “just political compensation.”