LCB Statement Regarding the Signing of E2SSB 5080

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Left justified header

May 1, 2023

Statement from the Liquor and Cannabis Board Regarding the Signing of E2SSB 5080

The Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) thanks the Legislature, and especially Sen. Saldaña, for her prime sponsorship of LCB-request legislation E2SSB 5080: an Act to Expand and Improve the Social Equity in Cannabis Program. Gov. Inslee this afternoon signed the bill into law.


The bill is a major step in what has been a four-year effort by the LCB, led by board member Ollie Garrett, to create a more diverse and equitable cannabis industry in Washington state. The LCB took stock of the cannabis system in 2019 and began the effort to address the lack of diversity in business ownership. In 2020 the LCB submitted agency-request legislation to increase diversity within the system. That bill, which became law, created the Cannabis Social Equity Program, authorizing the LCB to issue available retailer licenses that were previously forfeited, cancelled, revoked, or never issued to those that meet the criteria for a social equity retail license. The LCB today has held in reserve approximately 46 cannabis retail licenses that will be awarded this year to eligible applicants.


The LCB’s Social Equity Program is limited by the fact that currently authorized social equity licenses are tied to specific local jurisdictions, some of which have a ban or other restriction that will make those licenses effectively unusable. E2SSB 5080 expands the scale of the current Social Equity Program and makes it more effective by allowing additional retail stores over time, allowing social equity licensees more flexibility to locate a store, while also maintaining local control over zoning and outlet density.

With Gov. Inslee’s signature, this new law will allow the LCB more flexibility to help those harmed by the War on Drugs establish their business and achieve the state goal of increasing opportunity for social equity applicants.