New Rules in Washington Allow Those with Past Convictions to Pursue Cannabis Licenses

New rules that take effect in Washington Oct. 2 will allow those with past convictions to pursue licenses, according to a local report.

Under the existing regulations, a felony conviction in the past 10 years disqualifies applicants seeking cultivation, processing and retail licenses, the news outlet reported.

Recent misdemeanor convictions, as well as not disclosing misdemeanor or felony convictions on the application, also count against applicants under the current set of rules.

When the new regulations take effect next month, a serious felony conviction in the past decade will still spark an in-depth review of the application, but it will no longer be a non-starter in the licensing process, according to

In addition, one Class C felony on an applicant’s record, or less than three misdemeanor convictions in the past three years, will not prompt a deeper review of the application under the new rules, the news outlet reported.

Washington State Liquor and Board (WSLCB) Compliance and Communications Manager Nicola Reid told that the updated regulations are meant to help ease some barriers to entry that have kept many, especially those in communities disproportionately harmed by prohibition, out of the state’s cannabis industry.

Regulators have denied 43 applications based on the criminal history background check, reported. Washington currently has roughly 1,800 licensed cannabis businesses, but Reid said the rules could have dissuaded many with past convictions from even applying for a license.

“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,’” Reid told “We would never want to be a barrier to someone applying, and we want to be mindful of that."


More New Rules in Washington Allow Those with Past Convictions to Pursue Cannabis Licenses