The D.C. Council on Tuesday will consider legislation that reserves some new medical marijuana business licenses for people who were previously incarcerated for drug-related offenses — the latest effort by city lawmakers to bolster equity in the expanding industry.
The bill, introduced by Council member Robert White (D-At Large), comes as Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) is considering legislation passed last month that allows people with felony convictions to work at medical dispensaries, cultivation centers or testing labs. The council unanimously approved that legislation, which also makes it legal for people with felony convictions to own and operate medical cannabis businesses if they haven’t been convicted of certain crimes within three years of filing an application.
White says his bill goes a step further by instructing the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, which oversees the medical cannabis program, to reserve at least one dispensary license, one cultivation center license and one testing lab license for businesses that are majority-owned by people who were previously incarcerated for drug crimes whenever new licenses are next approved.
“We have seen the significant disparity in terms of convictions and sentencing, particularly for people of color, for drug-related crimes,” White said. “This [bill] makes sure the people who are most impacted by the failed war on drugs, and the significant disparities we see in our criminal justice system, aren’t completely left out of what is now a multibillion-dollar industry in this country.” [Read More @ The Washington Post]
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