Cannabis Equity Forum

On Feb. 22, 2020, The City's Department of Finance and Administrative Services hosted a community cannabis equity forum, in partnership with the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, Office of Arts and Culture and the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. The forum was an opportunity to hear from community members about their experiences with the legal cannabis landscape.

In 2021 the effort is underway to collect information and develop recommendations to identify and assist those most harmed by the disparate racial impacts of the criminalization and legalization of cannabis. More information will be posted here when available.

Read about the disparate impacts (pdf)

View the agenda (from Feb. 22, 2020)

Forum Panelists

Rick DimmerRick Dimmer
Field Enforcement Representative Purchasing and Contracting, a division of the Seattle Department of Finance and Administrative Services
Rick Dimmer co-leads his department's Racial and Social Justice Initiative Change Team and the City's Racial Equity in Marijuana Licensing project. Rick has over 14 years of restorative justice and racial equity experience. He serves as a liaison across City of Seattle departments, area school districts, correctional facilities, and public institutions across the country. Rick's passion is to foster Equity and embed it in all we do.

Ollie GarrettOllie Garrett
Board Member, Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board
Ollie A. Garrett, of Kirkland, was appointed to the Liquor and Cannabis Board effective August 15, 2016. She is president and CEO of PMT Solutions, a Bellevue-based collection company that provides comprehensive check collection and receivable management services for businesses.   Garrett is serving her fifth term as president of Tabor 100, an association working to further economic power, educational excellence and social equity for African-Americans and the community at large. Garrett is an at-large appointee of the King County Civil Rights Commission, co-chair of the Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprises and an appointed board member of the Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board, the Employment Security Advisory Board and the Washington Economic Development Finance Authority. She is also a member of the Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club Advisory Board.

Paula F. SardinasPaula Sardinas, Commissioner

Washington State Commission on African American Affairs   Paula F. Sardinas' career spans 25 years working in Telecom, Engineering, Banking, IT, STEM (Financial Literacy) and Public Policy. Having previously served as the Vice President of Legislative Affairs for the Northwest Credit Union Association based in SeaTac, Washington and HAPO Community Credit Union as the Vice President of Innovation and Transformation. Sardinas was responsible for transforming HAPO's strategic business strategy across the organization into a digital platform for the future to increase brand awareness and new member deposit accounts. Creating the HAPO Academy, which is focused on Financial Literacy and Stem Education is integral to her new role. In 2019, she launched several STEM Programs in both Eastern and SW Washington with partnerships with FEPPP, EverFi, nConnect, VPSD, EPSF and Girls, Inc. under the HAPO Academy branding. Creating diverse and inclusive programs, Sardinas believes STEM education creates a path to all communities regardless of socioeconomic background and status--pathways that allow each student to select the path that is right for them. " Savvy financial consumer--own their future. My goal is to ensure communities of color-harness this power and control their financial future."

As a former member of AT&T Florida's Legislative & Regulatory Affairs team, Sardinas lead and implemented statewide, the development of legislative tactics and strategies on federal, state, and local issues that impacted the company. As of 2020, she serves as a Gubernatorial appointment to both FEPPP and the Commission on African American Affairs.

Sardinas earned her AA and BBA from Columbia College in Missouri and is pursuing an MBA at the College of William & Mary ('20). She has also worked with and for the Administrations of Presidents, Clinton, Bush, and Obama on various programs to increase opportunities and access for women and children. 

Bobby Lee

Bobby Lee
Director Office of Economic Development - City of Seattle
Bobby Lee serves as the Director of the Office of Economic Development. Prior to this role, he was the Director of Economic Development for Propser Portland, the city's economic development agency. Bobby was previously appointed by the Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and later Governor Kate Brown appointed Bobby to manage the Regional Solutions Teams (RST) serving the Portland Metropolitan and the Willamette Valley region. Additionally, he's served as Division Head for Strategic Planning, Environmental Services and Corporate Communications for Hynix Semiconductor, the world's second largest semiconductor manufacturer and he was appointed as Director of Organizational Affairs for Worksystems Inc, a workforce development agency serving city of Portland, and Multnomah and Washington counties. 

Cherie McloudCherie MacLeod
Strategic Advisor-Marijuana Program Coordinator Consumer Protection, a division of the Seattle Department of Finance and Administrative Services
Cherie MacLeod is the Marijuana Program Coordinator with the Consumer Protection Division of the City of Seattle. In over 5 years as Seattle's marijuana implementation advisor and now as the program coordinator, she has helped collaboratively transition the industry from a grey market to a legal one, built a regulatory program around Seattle's ordinance, and is a liaison between the industry, the City, and the State. She co-leads the City's racial equity in marijuana licensing project, a collaborative team currently analyzing equity programs and conducting stakeholder engagements in order to develop meaningful, restorative responses to the disproportionate impacts of cannabis criminalization in our communities.

Elisa Young, Equity and Policy Director Elisa Young
Equity and Policy Director, Department of Finance and Administrative Services 
Elisa has over 10 years of experience in areas of equity and inclusion, policy and law and joins us from the Washington State Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprises. Elisa is an attorney and worked for seven years with a private law firm in Columbus, Ohio where she provided consultation on policy and program compliance regarding diversity and inclusion. She has spent the last three years working in Olympia to advance statewide ADA and language access plans, increase access to government contracts by women and minority owned businesses, and further the Governor's business diversity initiatives. Elisa has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration Management from Oakwood University and received her Juris Doctor from The Ohio State University.

Kyana Wheeler Kyana Wheeler 
Organizational Change Strategist, Office of Civil Rights 
Rooted in the belief that relationships and community are central to our liberation, I am a Black woman with extensive experience in anti-racism change efforts. An accomplished race relations trainer skilled in anti-racist data and measurements, systems analysis, group facilitation, anti-racist leadership development, and policy impact analysis, I am practiced in implementing systemic change within large complex structures. With an M.Ed in Organizational Leadership and a MPA in Policy Development, I have actively engaged in moving the City of Seattle's Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) forward over the last 15 years.