Why the Cannabis Industry OWES Convicts a Second Chance
The cannabis industry continues to shatter records that no other industry has come close to doing so since its inception. By the end of the decade, the cannabis industry is projected to gross more than $200 billion. This industry consists of businesses of all shapes and sizes. Some of these businesses focus on investment, security and loss prevention, packaging, transportation, logistics, and many others. However, before the cannabis industry becoming legitimate as early as the 2000s, there are a massive number of individuals who have been incarcerated for running their cannabis businesses albiet once illegitate. Moreover, there is a large population of individuals who are currently behind bars for miniscule amounts of weed. Despite this, the cannabis industry is extending the olive branch to ‘offenders’ to help mitigate pain and loss of time that ought to have never been stolen away from them.
History of cannabis prohibition and oppression
In the early 1900s, the state of cannabis would take a nosedive like none other. This portion of cannabis history is often known as ‘ Reefer Madness.’ This is a time of slander and propaganda of cannabis, unlike any other time in history. There was even a film produced during the Great Depression that showcased the ‘horrors’ of using cannabis. This onslaught was led by a man named Harry Anslinger with the help of the prominent timber baron William Randolph Hearst. The latter is best known for creating the largest newspaper publication of then and now: the New York Times. These men feared the versatility of cannabis in its industrial form: hemp. Hemp is many more times stronger and more durable than materials such as cotton, timber, and nylon. These astounding feats intrigued Anslinger, Hearst, and other timber barons. However, instead of harvesting the beneficial properties of cannabis and hemp for consumers, Anslinger with the help and finances of Hearst decided to run the strongest smear campaign ever orchestrated against a plant.
Fast forwarding 70 years, cannabis would remain public enemy #1. Cannabis was added to the list of illegal substances outlawed by the United States in 1972. Moreover, cannabis was added to the ‘schedule I’ of the list of banned substances. For clarity, this means that the United States Government believed that cannabis was just as problematic and dangerous to one’s health as LSD, peyote, and even heroin. Anyone with a sliver of common sense would never compare cannabis to heroin. Thanks to the scheduling, cannabis possession and distribution would see offenders incarcerated for literally decades and even lifetimes.
An overview of the cannabis industry today
Since the days of prohibition, cannabis has become more commonplace and less taboo. As aforementioned, the cannabis industry is shattering sales records every month. Moreover, there are a slew of emerging markets in a variety of states that will begin to provide cannabis to their local residents. Globally, the cannabis market is also seeing steady growth and overwhelming revenue with each new fiscal year. The cannabis industry has diversified itself and no longer is strictly cannabis dispensaries and delivery services. For more information on the different types of cannabis businesses, be sure to check out our recent article on cannabis jobs.
How the cannabis industry is assisting ex-cons
Despite the United States’ House of Representatives passing a historic bill, nothing is set in stone surrounding the decriminalization of cannabis on a federal level. However, owners and operators of cannabis businesses understand the repercussions cannabis-related offenses on one’s record can have on their professional livelihood. This is why companies in the cannabis industry are prioritizing candidates who have been affected by the obsolete laws surrounding the criminalization of cannabis. Although there is no way to make up for lost time, the least cannabis companies can do is give ex-cannabis convicts a chance that was outright stolen from them.