cannabis for ex-cons
cannabis for ex-cons

What the Cannabis Industry Can Do To Help Ex-Cons Right Now

What can the cannabis industry do to help those incarcerated for cannabis related offenses?

Posted by:
Reginald Reefer on Thursday Jul 9, 2020

What can the cannabis industry do to help those incarcerated for cannabis related offenses?

cannabis for convicts

(Forbes discusses ex-cons and cannabis, read the article here)

While it’s technically not the responsibility of the cannabis industry to repair the damage caused by the War on Drugs – it is a slap in the face of the casualties of the war when cannabis companies rake in millions annually while they served decades behind bars.


The attitudes towards cannabis has changed drastically. Gone are the days when it was considered an “immoral act”. A Recent Gallup Poll can confirm this truth. With this shift in attitude – a new marketplace has been birthed and today is estimated in the high billions of dollars. This means job opportunities, investment opportunities, and much more.


Nevertheless – there is a societal cost from the war on drugs that needs to be addressed. Some lawmakers wish to put the weight of the burden on the cannabis industry – yet we must ask whether the cannabis industry should be picking up the tab for public policy?


The Cannabis Industry didn’t arrest anyone


Sure – the people taking advantage of the cannabis industry are predominantly white people with trust funds. There are very few minorities in the game and this is perceived as a problem by lawmakers. These lawmakers want to ensure that minorities get a stake in the cannabis pie – which is great, however – what would be considered equal representation?


If we were to take the US census an indicator – that would be 13.4% if we’re only considering African Americans. If we were to bundle all “minorities” into one group – that would roughly constitute 30% - 35%.


Does this mean that a “fair and equal” representation within the cannabis market should be 65% Caucasian and 35% everyone else?


If you feel that all of these statistics sound racist-AF…you’d be right. The problem with forced equal representation is that it’s literally using race as a metric to decide whether someone can or cannot engage in a business.


No matter the intentions of the legislators – the fact remains that unless they lower the “price-gate” to the cannabis industry, misrepresentation will always continue to occur. Of course there would be more “white people” with stakes in the cannabis industry especially since the majority of the population are “white”.


Does this mean that there is a system designed to keep minorities people out? No. But what is keeping minorities out of the game is that it costs so much for people to get licensed. Not to mention – if someone has a criminal record – even if its because of cannabis – in many states they are denied access to the marketplace.


What can cannabis businesses do?


Firstly – I don’t believe in Affirmative Action. The idea that we have to somehow force a minority participation is inherently racist. Rather – lower the entry point to become a business owner. Make it accessible in terms of low-cost investment to start small-scale cannabis grows.


These types of licenses could easily become a niche market within the cannabis industry – creating opportunity for people who are willing to work for it.


Secondly – remove the barrier for ex-convicts to participate in these systems. It’s one thing I have never understood about the US prison system. In the US – if you go to prison, you’ll serve your time – and when you’ve served your time you’ll get probation.


You typically get “probation” after serving your time – which means that you have concluded paying your debt to society, but still require paying some more debt to ensure that you are reformed.


Imagine if your credit card company takes your money for an item you purchased, but after you purchased it – forced you to pay a small fee for a period of two years to ensure that ‘you’ve paid for it’.


Ex-convicts struggle to get jobs because apart from having to suffer through probation – they have to legally disclose that they went to prison. In most cases – this is a deal breaker for corporate employers. It raises their risk assessment and could alter their premiums on insurance.


One thing the cannabis industry could do – even though they are not responsible for this shit-show – is simply stop asking the question “have you gone to prison”. Maybe they have, maybe they haven’t – but if they are out now and asking you for a job, then let them be.


I believe that people should be able to redeem themselves and ex-convicts need our help more than ever. Going to prison is like getting frozen in time. Some people were sentenced for decades – meaning that the world around them completely evolves, leaving them stuck in a time that no longer exists.


It’s hell and if cannabis business owners could make the difference and set the standard for the rest of the “industries” out there – I think it’s worth a shot.


So what can the cannabis industry do to help all the victims of the drug war?


Not ask if they went to prison

Push for lower licensing fees [lower the barrier of entry]

Invest in programs to re-orient ex-convicts.


Of course – change like this will not happen overnight, but with enough tenacity – the cannabis industry could serve as the example to the rest of the world.








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