Why Cannabis Businesses Should Hire Ex-Cons
We’re hitting the 80th anniversary of the prohibition of cannabis and roughly 47 years of the drug war. As a result of these antiquated policies, we have thousands upon thousands of ex-convicts who now have a hard time finding a job.
In many states, you can’t apply for a medical marijuana grower’s license if you have a criminal record meaning even though you may have gone to prison for growing marijuana, you can’t get into the legal market because of it.
And with Colorado generating more than 18,000 full time jobs last year specifically relating to the cannabis industry it might be worthwhile for cannabis companies to start hiring ex-convicts.
There’s a lot of money within the cannabis industry and for those people who were negatively affected by the drug war, this could be a means to start living a productive life once more.
Giving Jobs to the Jobless
While I never have been thrown in prison for any crime (despite having broken several laws throughout my lifetime), I can only imagine how difficult it must be for someone who recently were released without a dime in their pockets.
Firstly, the world has evolved around you. I once spoke in depth with an ex-con who spent roughly a decade of his life behind bars. He called prison “the place where time stands still”. Everything around you changes; your family, the job market, your friends and society as a whole while you remain locked out of ‘time’ in a state of stasis.
Once you are let out, the world you knew is gone and the world that you are presented with is alien and hostile. According to your probation officer, you need to get a place to stay and a job. For those without familiar connections, their next stop is a ‘halfway house’ which is only a slight upgrade from your prison cell.
The next dilemma is finding a job. Most decent jobs have that small little piece of print on the application form, “Have you ever been convicted of a felony” which is conveniently placed there to weave you out of the applicant selection.
So, you’re forced to either be self-employed or work at some corporately owned soul-sucking deathtrap where you’ll be paid the bare minimum in exchange for all of your energy and effort.
For many, this reality leads them back to prison. It’s easier to generate a livable income from outside of the boundaries of the law than to Sisyphus your way through life working at some grimy establishment from nine to five every day.
And this was the Prison Industrial Complex from the perspective of a victim of the Drug War. It’s a sad reality, however the cannabis industry could do something about it.
Stop Playing by the Rules
It’s important to always remember that the cannabis industry exists today purely because some people decided to stop playing by the rules. There was a time when cannabis was seen as ‘Public Enemy #1”, yet despite all the government propaganda, we now have cannabis legal in 29 states in the US.
They managed to break the rules without breaking the law and utilized our very inalienable rights to circumvent the law. First, it was legal for use (in California) but not to buy or sell or distribute. Then the medical marijuana industry came to play and it was legal to set up shop. Eventually, it became legal for every adult to smoke, grow and consume cannabis in their homes.
Corporate America plays by the rules of Corporate America. The rules are simple;
- Keep the Rich- Rich!
- Fuck the Poor
One of the elements they have in play to abide by the second rule is to add in the clause “Have you ever been convicted of a Felony Offence” on the application forms. This means that all those poor “schmoes” who were caught up by the Drug War and syphoned into the Industrial Prison Complex will never compete with the ‘rest of America’ in the job market.
Perhaps your felony was, being caught with an ounce and a half in a state that hates cannabis, and for the rest of your life you’re faced with this bullshit.
I could go into greater details about how Corporate America keeps the rest of us down, but today I’m here talking about what the cannabis industry can do about it.
The first thing you need to realize is that you don’t have to play by the same rules as the rest of the companies. The next time you have a harvest ready to be clipped, get a few convicts out there and teach them a new trade. They already can’t buy a license to grow legally, so why not give them a leg-up into the industry.
Ex-cons are hard workers (for the most part) seeing that they were placed in a militaristic system where their meal times, rec times and sleep times were scheduled. This means that they would be malleable to fit into any program you have whipped up.
I think it’s high time we end playing the games of the drug war and give opportunities to our fellow stoners, growers and people who were caught up in the net of bullshit a chance to advance their own lives.
If it weren’t for the outlaws who kept providing us with cannabis over the dark years of prohibition, we might not have the current industry we all are coming to love every day.
Just something to think about…