But there’s a widespread sentiment that people with criminal convictions — many of them people of color — were discouraged from ever applying for a license because they thought they wouldn’t pass the background check.
Last week, the task force approved several recommendations, including proposing a formula to help determine who would qualify for the 39 licenses reserved for communities harmed by the war on drugs. The task force also recommended that a portion of marijuana tax revenue go toward helping those applicants launch their businesses.
“At the onset, someone might look at the rules and say, ‘I have a felony, there’s no way I will have a license issued to me,’ ” said Reid, compliance and adjudications manager with the Liquor and Cannabis Board’s licensing division.
Under the old rules, a felony conviction in the past decade could essentially derail an application for a license. Recent misdemeanor convictions also counted against applicants under the old rules, and applicants would be dinged for any old misdemeanor or felony convictions they failed to disclose.
After blocking dozens of people with criminal records from entering the legal marijuana industry, Washington state officials managing the 9-year-old industry are preparing to chill out a bit.
Primarily, you need to be sure your grow location is located at least 1000 feet from any elementary or secondary school, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, public transit center, library, or game arcade that allows minors to enter. As of June 2015, counties and municipalities have the right to enact an ordinance reducing the 1000 ft buffer to a minimum of 100 ft (with the exception of elementary schools, secondary schools and playgrounds). Olympia Ordinance 7046, for example, reduces the buffer zone in the state capital to 500 feet.
Step 3: Get the Money
One nice thing about growing marijuana (as opposed to selling it as a retailer) is that you don’t have to sweat finding the most convenient place for customers. In fact, for security purposes, an out-of-the-way location can be a bonus. This can make it a little easier to abide by the state’s zoning requirements.
Step 5: Hit All the Requirements
Typically, quite a few more than a regular Washington business. Besides usual business permits, marijuana producers have to take in consideration how their activities affect the environment—you may need permits for air quality, water quality, solid waste handling, hazardous waste management and more. For instance, in some areas, you’re required to submit a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) checklist so the state can see what kind of impact your business will have. In King, Kitsap, Snohomish and Pierce Counties, marijuana producers and processors are required to submit a pre-construction application with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency—an application that comes with a $1,150 price tag.