OLYMPIA – Continuing the work in addressing disparity in the cannabis industry, State Representative Melanie Morgan (D-Parkland) was elected to serve as the legislative co-chair of the Social Equity in Cannabis Task Force. The task force was established this year through House Bill 2870. The bill created a task force to develop a social equity program that addresses communities disproportionally harmed by cannabis prohibition by allowing them access to the cannabis industry. From the bill, the purpose of the task force is to make recommendations to the board including but not limited to establishing a social equity program for the issuance and reissuance of existing retail marijuana licenses, and to advise the governor and the legislature on policies that will facilitate development of a marijuana social equity program.
“I am grateful to my fellow task force members and proud to serve as their legislative co-chair. The work we are doing is important: Cannabis prohibition has disproportionately impacted communities of color, particularly Black/African American communities, for far too long. Our work will allow us to make changes that ensure Washington state is practicing equity in the cannabis industry,” said Morgan. “I look forward to working with our community co-chair, Commissioner Paula Sardinas, African American Commission, and task force members in this important work.”
Morgan is a former school board director from Franklin Pierce Schools and a US Army veteran, and she is a strong voice for underrepresented communities, advocating for equity in state policies. She currently serves as Vice Chair of the Housing, Community Development, and Veterans Committee and is a member of the Capital Budget and Commerce and Gaming committees. Morgan is also Chair of the House Equity Advisory Council and previously served as the first Chair of the House Black Members Caucus.