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Washington cannabis regulators looking at changes to legal market

Last Updated Sep 1, 2019 at 12:02 pm PDT

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Summary

Washington state has had legal cannabis for five years now, and its regulator is looking at a number of new ideas

Cannabis 2.0 refresh isn't just focused on production or product

This is all part of an effort to see what the industry might look like and need over the next five years

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The roll-out of legal cannabis in British Columbia hasn’t had a major impact on the black market, according to those in the industry – but things are developing south of the border.

Washington state has had legal cannabis for five years now, and its regulator is looking at a number of new ideas.

While the state is not making any big ticket changes right away, Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board Director Rick Garza says they’re embarking on Cannabis 2.0, and have already identified some areas where work can be done.

Right now, they’re looking at social equity programs, which would encourage greater ownership of business by people of colour and women.

Garza says these groups were usually the target of cannabis enforcement during prohibition.

“We looked at what some of the other states and cities had done, places like L.A. and Oakland, which have created social equity programs for licensure and ownership in their cities,” he says.

“They deal with the disproportionate impacts, historically over time, of enforcement of cannabis prohibition on certain categories or sectors of our population.”

State regulators will also be working on ways to help smaller growers and retailers be more competitive, and it’s all part of an effort to see what the industry might look like and need over the next five years.