Another city in California just gave cannabis ex-convicts a leg up when it comes to starting a weed business. Sacramento, the capital of California, just passed a Cannabis Equity Program. By giving cannabis ex-convicts priority, this new program is working to undo the War on Drugs’ legacy in the state of California.
States Bar Ex-Convicts From Working In Legal Weed
In some states, it doesn’t matter that the crime someone committed is now no longer a crime. Just last year, a major Massachusetts medical cannabis dispensary campaigned to exclude cannabis ex-convicts from the medical weed industry.
The CEO of Patriot Care, the dispensary involved, wrote in a widely publicized letter: “Permitting those who have demonstrated the interest and willingness to ignore state and federal drug laws sends the wrong signals to those who would participate in the legal, regulated industry.”
Though the Massachusetts weed community has widely disparaged Patriot Care, many states still bar cannabis ex-convicts from working in—nevermind opening—their own weed businesses. This is still true in Alaska, Nevada and California. This essentially means that those who lost the most during the War on Drugs, notably Black and Latino communities, are barred from profiting from a major industry.
Sacramento’s Weed Industry No Longer Discriminates Against Ex-Convicts
Last week, the Sacramento City Council voted in favor of a Cannabis Equity Program. People who have committed non-violent weed crimes, or whose family members have, and people living in certain communities disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs qualify for the program.
The program offers significant benefits to its members, according to Sacramento’s report. First, they don’t have to pay weed business licensing fees, which are prohibitively expensive. They also get business development advice and lots of other benefits. This can mean help raising capital, getting loans, promoting on social media and employee training. They’ll also get mentorship on the nitty-gritty of running a weed business.
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Published: August 14, 2018