Magazine article Reason

When Experience Is a Liability: IN SOME STATES, A MARIJUANA CONVICTION CAN EXCLUDE YOU FROM THE NEWLY LEGAL INDUSTRY

Magazine article Reason

When Experience Is a Liability: IN SOME STATES, A MARIJUANA CONVICTION CAN EXCLUDE YOU FROM THE NEWLY LEGAL INDUSTRY

Article excerpt

DANIEL FAGUNDES, WHO was arrested for growing medical marijuana that he supplied to a Las Vegas dispensary, found himself excluded from that state's newly legal recreational industry because he had been convicted of a felony: possession with intent to sell. In California, by contrast, Rodney Hampton's felony record from his days as a pot dealer in San Francisco gave him a leg up when he applied for a license to sell marijuana there.

As those examples suggest, the seven states that currently license marijuana suppliers to serve the recreational market (regulations are pending in Maine and Michigan) have reached strikingly different conclusions about the propriety of letting people with pot records participate. In several states, experience in the field can be disqualifying. Here are the relevant rules.

Alaska: No one convicted of a felony in the previous five years or a Class A misdemeanor involving distribution of marijuana in the previous two years can own or work for a marijuana establishment.

California: A license to operate a marijuana business can be denied based on convictions "substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the business." If a drug conviction does not fit that description, it cannot be the sole basis for rejecting an application.

Colorado: No one convicted of a felony involving a controlled substance in the previous 10 years can own or work for a marijuana business, unless it was a marijuana use or possession offense that is no longer a felony. …

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