Granting of licences, Workforce Training, Expert Advice on Cannabis growing, and much more; The new law in Washington State not only grants licenses to applicants who have prior convictions for crimes related to cannabis, but it will also provide grant funding and give them the training to start a cannabis-growing business.
Adding $2 Billion to State Economy
It is boom time for the marijuana industry in Washington State. It adds two billion dollars to the Washington state economy and generates half a billion dollars for drug-related health, education, and enforcement programs. But the laws regarding growing weed do not seem to be fair to everyone.
"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." 
Majority Marijuana Business Owners Identified as Non-Minorities!
As per the data coming from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board; It shows that less than 20% of marijuana business owners come from minority races. The data indicates that while 7% of owners are Asian, 4% identified themselves as multiracial, and only 5% are black or Hispanic. The majority of the state's licensed marijuana business owners identified themselves as non-minority.
The First State in the United States
Washington State was one of the first in the USA to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. Its governor, Jay Inslee (D), has become a champion of his state's legal marijuana market. He signed House Bill 1443 into law on Monday, which expands the state's Task Force for Social Equity in the Cannabis industry. The purpose is to help more minorities get into the state's marijuana sales and manufacturing business.
Encouragement on Licenses & Cannabis Industry Workforce Training Programs
This bill alters residential cannabis agriculture regulations and shifts primary regulation of cannabis products from the Liquor and Cannabis Board to the Department of Agriculture. License applicants can get grant funding even if they have prior convictions for marijuana-related crimes or live in areas considered excessively impacted. The law also gives them expert advice by creating cannabis industry workforce training opportunities. With these changes, people, especially from the minority communities who were once disqualified from getting licenses, are finally free to start their business with an advantage over cannabis license applicants without a criminal history.
"It's a down payment on what the state of Washington owes its Black residents," said Paula Sardinas, co-chair of the task force, "We're doing things to make those wrongs, right." 
Rep. Melanie Morgan, D-Pierce County, told House members that if Washington State is considered truly inclusive, the state will have to "practice equity in the cannabis industry" Morgan was one of the bill's sponsors and co-chaired the task force with Sardinas.
Published by: Book Club
Release ID: 18086