It seems logical: when the cannabis industry becomes a legitimate business, those who were once criminals would become legitimate businessmen. Reality isn’t always logical. Cannabis growers and connoisseurs are being locked out of their own industry at the moment it emerges from the underground.States all around the country are legalizing recreational marijuana, but are also prosecuting people under laws which they themselves deem to be unnecessary.The level of strictness in enforcing these regulations varies from state to state. In Oregon, someone convicted of a marijuana-related crime can still work as a caregiver or obtain a medical license.
However, their ability to operate within the cannabis industry is still severely limited. According to The Oregonian, an individual with a criminal record can carry up to one ounce, as opposed to the regular limit of 24 since the state legalized in 2015.It’s a step up from the nightmare scenario that Aaron Pickel went through, Pickel Prior to legalization, Pickel had been caught with edibles and was slapped with a $200 fine and a felony charge despite having a California medical marijuana card. He told The Oregonian that the charge had ruined his life,“I’ve tried pretty hard to find work,” Pickel said, “and when you’re going against people who have nothing on their record and you do, you’re not going to get it.”
Pickel’s story is one which many Americans are familiar with, except that those individuals might have expected to catch a break once their states legalized. States that are joining the cannabis revolution are also actively excluding members of the cannabis community.After Massachusetts legalized a recreational market in November, Patriot Care, a medical marijuana company petitioned the state’s Public Health Council to bar those with prior convictions from working in the industry.“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.”
The letter said.The same was done in California years ago the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulations crafted rules which prevent individuals from working in the industry for anything from trafficking to simple possession. Nevada, which also recently legalized, has adopted similar regulations which apply to anyone who has committed a federal offense.For both the states and particularly these companies, there is a heavy sense of hypocrisy about their opposition to wiping the record clean. Especially since, according to their own regulations, the entire industry is committing a federal offense, since marijuana is still considered illegal by the federal government.
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