FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Feb. 14, 2022
OLYMPIA – On Monday, the Senate passed SB 5796, a bill sponsored by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle) that would provide more transparency around how current cannabis revenues are being spent and create a new social equity loan and grant program.
“Our nation’s war on drugs disproportionally impacted Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities,” said Saldaña. “As we grow this industry and as we benefit from its revenues, we must promote transparency and support the diversification of this industry so that all Washingtonians get a seat at the table.”
Since Washington state voters voted to legalize marijuana in 2012, communities have called for increased transparency around how revenues are allocated. Cannabis revenue tracking is critical to accountability and ensuring that cannabis industry revenues go toward the people and communities who were most harmed by a long legacy of drug policy enforcement.
Saldaña’s bill would simplify Washington state’s cannabis revenue allocations into a transparent two-step process. All existing purposes would be funded at or slightly above their 2021 levels and grow with inflation. A few of the areas currently funded would move to a percentage-based appropriation that will grow as cannabis revenues grow. Those are health care, the state’s general fund, substance use prevention work, and local governments.
SB 5796 would also increase appropriations to local governments from $15 million to $26 million and create a new loan program for cannabis businesses that meet social equity criteria.
The bill now moves on to the House of Representatives for consideration.
For information: Ali O’Neil, Senate Democratic Caucus Communications, 360.786.7052