Legal cannabis industry must reckon with systemic racism

Article excerpt:

Systemic racism isn’t just intertwined with the criminalization of cannabis, but in the legal industry, too. Breaking into this business as an entrepreneur is an uphill battle unless you’re privileged with financial security and connections.

If you have a felony conviction for marijuana possession, you’ll have a rough time obtaining a cannabis business license in many states. California, for example, forbids anyone with a felony controlled substance offense within the past three years from obtaining one. To obtain a license in Colorado, applicants can’t have any controlled substance felonies within the past decade. Nevada requires anyone working in the industry, in both medical and retail, to undergo a criminal background check. Those convicted of “excluded felony offense” in Nevada are not allowed to work in cannabis.

Dasheeda Dawson, a cannabis activist and author of the workbook How to Succeed in the Cannabis Industry was recently selected to serve on the Head of Cannabis for the City of Portland to shape policies around the plant. She’s the third Black woman in the country to hold a position of power in cannabis regulatory practices.

“Most markets were started by purposely keeping out people who have prior convictions with marijuana,” Dawson told Mashable in a phone call. “And as you know, Black people are almost four times as likely on average to be arrested for cannabis possession.”

Read the full article at Mashable.

Posted in DFCR, In the Media.