FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Mar. 4, 2022
OLYMPIA – Today, the State House of Representatives passed SB 5796, a bill sponsored by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle) that would increase transparency around how current cannabis revenues are being spent, provide additional resources to local governments, and increase grants to social equity licensees.
“Our nation’s war on drugs disproportionally impacted Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities,” said Saldaña. “As we grow this industry and as our state benefits from cannabis revenues, we must ensure all Washingtonians get a seat at the table and share in that prosperity.
“Since I was sent to Olympia to represent the 37th Legislative District, which includes Seattle’s Central District and unincorporated King County neighborhoods including Skyway and West Hill, I have heard their calls for more transparency and accountability. Cannabis revenue tracking is one critical step to uphold the will of Washington voters and respond to the demands that cannabis revenues go toward the people and communities who have been most harmed by a long legacy of racist drug policies and 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 2021 levels and, for the first time, grow with inflation. A few of the areas currently funded would also move to a percentage-based appropriation that will grow as cannabis revenues grow. Those areas are health care, the state’s general fund, substance use prevention work, and local governments.
SB 5796 also would increase appropriations to local governments from $15 million to $26 million.
The funding to health care includes support for community health centers, cannabis education programs, and other programs and practices to prevent or reduce substance use among middle and high school-age students.
The House adopted two amendments proposed by Rep. Pat Sullivan (D-Covington):
- a striker amendment that:
- makes technical drafting corrections to the Senate bill, and
- requires a JLARC review of all cannabis revenue appropriations and expenditures by July 2023.
- an amendment that changes all “marijuana” references to “cannabis” to align with HB 1210, which has already passed both the House and Senate.
The bill now goes back to the Senate for further consideration.
For information: Ali O’Neil, Senate Democratic Caucus Communications, 360.786.7052