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  • August 10, 2020 10:50 AM | Joanna Monroe (Administrator)

    Craft Cannabis Coalition Legislative Priorities 

    Protect Against Forced Unionization

    The Craft Cannabis Coalition (CCC) strongly supports employment practices that provide for living wages and benefits and support safe and respectful workplaces.  Last session, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) introduced SB6393, designed to force unionization of the Washington State cannabis industry, by inserting Labor into the licensing approval process. We actively oppose any legislation that threatens the viability of our businesses and puts at risk the economic security of our employees. We reject the coercive tactic of tying a third-party regulatory points system to the renewal of our hard-won licenses.

    Promote Social Equity

    CCC strongly supports meaningful industry representation from minority communities disproportionately harmed by prohibition and the War on Drugs and believe that promoting diversity and reducing harm should be a priority within the Washington State cannabis industry. We feel these efforts must be substantive and avoid harming current licensees, who face significant financial challenges. To us, this means no increase in license counts or canopy square footage. We believe social equity efforts are best served by focusing on community empowerment, grants, and technical support. We would like to leverage our industry experience and regulatory insight to help support the long-term efficacy and success of social equity endeavors.

    Prevent Vertical Integration, Direct Sales, Delivery

    We are adamantly opposed to direct sales or delivery services. We remain opposed to vertical integration of producer/processors and retail operations.  Vertical integration initiates consolidation of a few dominant entities at the expense of many smaller businesses; this does not align with the craft nature of Washington State cannabis and the mission of our Coalition.

    Promote Standard Commercial Business Practices

    We generally support the allowance of regular business practices for 502 businesses, including, but not limited to, contracts, price differentiation, and co-branding; practices currently allowed in alcohol but prohibited in cannabis.

    “Use It or Lose It” Licensing

    In the interest of preserving the value of licenses and promoting stability in an industry that continues to struggle with a surplus of licenses, we propose that licenses being held speculatively with no active contributions to our industry, be required to operationalize or be forfeited. Our goal is to put the decision to increase 502 licenses in the hands of legislators (under the legislative process), rather than the LCB. Any 502 licenses issued, other than those required to address population growth, should come from the existing pool of licenses which have been forfeited or otherwise not activated.  In addition to no licensing of new canopy square footage, we support a requirement that licenses issued to address social equity are pulled from the existing pool of unused licenses, rather than the creation of new licenses. Lastly, we believe that if a licensee fails to meet a minimum number of sales in a given time period, their license should be revoked.

    Out of State Ownership

    Fundamentally, the CCC is not opposed to out of state ownership. However, we would push for a set of guardrails around this issue that would ensure no new licenses were created, no new canopy was created, and vertical integration is still disallowed.

  • July 15, 2020 8:06 AM | Joanna Monroe (Administrator)

    The Craft Cannabis Coalition, a community of industry licensed producers, processors, and retailers that work together to promote and protect the unique craft nature of legal cannabis in Washington state, has hired Joanna Monroe as its executive director. Monroe will lead the organization’s advocacy for common sense policy to safeguard the industry against changes that may threaten the viability of the cannabis market in Washington State.

    “Since the passage of I-502 in 2012, Washington cannabis businesses have struggled to persevere because, unlike other industries, they face unique but enormous obstacles to success. By and large our regulations have fostered an environment that has discouraged consolidation and dominance by just a few large companies,” Monroe said.  “As executive director of the Craft Cannabis Coalition, my number one goal is to maintain an environment where many small producers and processors can thrive, by educating stakeholders about the positive impact we make and the need to pass laws to strengthen, not damage our industry.”

    Monroe, a licensed attorney, previously served as an executive at True Blue – an international temporary staffing agency – where she ran the company’s government relations function for 20 years. For the last year, Monroe served as an executive with Evergreen Market, a five-store cannabis retailer, and is an investor in Viridian Staffing which provides talent exclusively to the cannabis industry.

    Monroe became involved in the industry after learning about the many challenges cannabis businesses face.

    “Throughout my career, I have seen policymakers push legislation that, although well intended, results in unintended consequences that harm the very industry and people they are seeking to protect,” she said.

    In 2019, the cannabis industry contributed over $400 million in tax revenue and employed thousands of people in Washington.  

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