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Washington state regulators are weighing the idea of giving those 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 point-based system to allot cannabis licenses to individuals.
Former convicts affected by the “war on drugs” policies of previous decades would receive preferential attention in opening cannabis stores under the proposed system.
“Our intent is to be able to reach applicants that were disproportionally harmed by the war on drugs,” Liquor Cannabis Board Director of Communications Brian Smith told FOX 13.
Points would be awarded to individuals based on their history of drug-related crime.
“You get points for as little as just being arrested for let’s say a marijuana conviction, but you get additional points if you served time jail or prison,” Smith said.
Some Washington officials have pointed to race as a factor under consideration for the new policy.
“We recognize the disproportionality of the war on drugs on the black community,” Labor Relations Policy Advisor Brianna Thomas said.
However, not everyone is thrilled with the idea.
Some entrepreneurs already running marijuana shops are skeptical of the proposed program’s effectiveness.
“This will provide licenses to people who aren’t equipped to run a business like this,” one cannabis store owner told FOX 13.
Another cannabis store owner called the proposed policy “just a political make good.”