Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell signed a trio of bills into law Sept. 20 to increase social equity in the city’s cannabis industry, according to a MyNorthwest report.

“I think our city and our country are trying to look at an industry that has been historically used to marginalize communities,” Harrell said, according to the news outlet. “Dare I say, intentionally criminalized communities, and now with the right values and right people, how do we take that industry and advance equity advance opportunity? These policies are quite frankly a necessary step to new generations of injustice and discrimination caused by what was then called the War on Drugs left so many black communities and communities of color so far behind.”

The first bill, CB 120391, establishes a regulatory framework for the city to issue social equity licenses in collaboration with the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB), MyNorthwest reported.

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CB 120391 will also create a cannabis advisory committee to gather input on cannabis equity from workers, community members and industry leaders, according to the news outlet.

The bill also establishes goals to work toward expunging cannabis-related convictions that occurred before 2014, as well as addresses safety improvements, capital investments and banking, MyNorthwest reported.

The second bill, CB 120392, reworks the cannabis licensing system, while the third piece of legislation, CB 120393, outlines improvements to job protection and retention in the industry, according to MyNorthwest.

Harrell developed the three bills in partnership with city council members and industry stakeholders in an effort to address social equity issues in the cannabis industry.

Seattle City Council unanimously approved the legislative package earlier this month, and the bills will be effective 30 days after Harrell signed them into law.

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