NEWS GLEAMS | Cannabis Legislation to Address Inequities, COVID-19 Booster Vaccines Available Next Week

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

curated by Vee Hua 華婷婷


🖋️Letter From the Editor🖋️

Seattle City Council has unanimously passed a series of new cannabis bills designed to address long-standing racial inequities in the cannabis industry and discrimination caused by the war on drugs. In COVID-19 news, fall boosters are finally rolling through, and UW Medicine is scheduling appointments now.

Highline College will soon launch a Talent Search program, which will help 500 low-income students reach their college goals; we offer some details in this week’s News Gleams.

—Vee Hua 華婷婷, interim managing editor for the South Seattle Emerald

✨Gleaming This Week✨


Image of a hand holding a cannabis leaf among a field of cannabis plants.
Image is attributed to CRYSTALWEED cannabis (under the Unsplash License).

Seattle City Council Unanimously Passes Three Bills to Address Racial Inequities in the Cannabis Industry

Beginning in 2021, Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda and Seattle City Council began looking at cannabis policies. In late August, Mosqueda chaired a discussion and final vote around three Cannabis Equity bills in her Finance and Housing Committee, which were passed unanimously by Seattle City Council.

The bills are designed to address racial inequities in the cannabis industry and to repair past harms from the war on drugs. They are: 

  • CB 120391 — Expresses the City of Seattle’s intent to engage in cannabis equity, expungement of cannabis convictions, equity work and funding, and develop a needs assessment for needs within the workforce and cannabis industry.
  • CB 120392 — Advances equity in cannabis licensing and expands licensed activities. 
  • CB 120393 — Requires employers to take action to develop job retention, security, and stability within the cannabis industry.

These bills came in response to community demands identified in the Cannabis Racial Equity Toolkit (RET), which was initiated in 2018. Based on community feedback, the RET mission was initially focused solely on business licensing but soon expanded to include access to licenses and capital; access to business education and mentorship; community reinvesting; Small Business Association (SBA) business plan support; flexibility to pivot quickly as new barriers arise; reinvesting proceeds into the Black community; and rebuilding generational wealth.

“Today’s Cannabis Equity legislation sets us on a path towards restoring harms created by the war on drugs, and City and State policies,” said Mosqueda in a Seattle City Council press release. “As one of the first areas to legalize cannabis, we also need to step up on implementing equity and reparations in the cannabis industry.”

The bills will be effective 30 days after the mayor signs the new legislation into law, and he has joined with Mosqueda in calling the bills “historic.” Substantive protections of the job retention ordinance will be applied nine months after the effective date in an effort to allow for the Office of Labor Standards to prepare for implementation.


Photo depicting a Latina-presenting individual wearing a black shirt looking up expectantly at someone.
(Photo courtesy of Highline College.)

Highline College to Develop Talent Search Program to Help Students Reach Their Higher Education Goals, Focus on 500 Low-Income Students

Highline College in Des Moines was recently awarded a five-year $1.38 million TRiO Talent Search grant, which will fund a director and two advisor positions to aid in the development of a Talent Search program. The project will ultimately help students reach their higher education goals through wraparound advising, tutoring and college prep services, exposure to high-profile company visits, career counseling, and services with a special focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields.

The service hopes to serve approximately 500 first-generation, low-income students at Pacific Middle School and Mount Rainier High School in the Des Moines-based Highline Public Schools district.

“The students this program will serve live in the most racially and ethnically diverse community in Washington State, where residents speak close to 100 different languages,” writes Highline College’s press release. “However, of the 10,164 families living in Des Moines, 11.8% — close to 1,200 — are living in poverty, according to the 2015–19 American Community Survey. It’s also reported that 64.5%, or nearly 1,600 students, are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch at Mount Rainier and Pacific. Yet 14% of adults in the area do not have a high school diploma and only 25% of adults have a bachelor’s degree.”

Learn more about Highline’s Talent Search program on its website.

Emerald readers can also learn more about Highline School District’s new Latino superintendent, Ivan Duran, via our recent interview with him.


UW Medicine and King County Offer Boosters Starting Next Week

Starting next week, UW Medicine and King County will start offering the newly authorized COVID-19 booster shots from Pfizer and Moderna. They will target both the original strain of the virus and the newer omicron subvariants, including BA.4 and BA.5. Both boosters were authorized for use this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

The updated Pfizer booster is available to all 12 and older who have:

  • Completed their COVID-19 primary series vaccination at least two months ago; or
  • Received their last booster/additional dose at least two months ago.

The updated Moderna booster is available to people ages 18 and older meeting the same criteria.

KING COUNTY APPOINTMENTS

Please visit King County Health’s portal to sign up starting Sept. 9.

UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON APPOINTMENTS

Starting Sept. 7, sign up for appointments at UW’s high-volume vaccination sites at UW Medical Center – Montlake, UW Medical Center – Northwest, and Harborview Medical Center. Schedule your booster by calling 844-520-8700 and joining UW Medicine’s waitlist. You will receive a call or text message when it is your turn to book an appointment. Updated booster supplies will be limited to start.


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