In a world of wide-boys and no-hopers, who should have a licence to sell weed?

It remains difficult to gain a licence to operate in the cannabis field anywhere in the US if you’ve been convicted of selling cannabis before it was legal. Yet such restrictions clearly do little to protect the market from chancers and no-hopers. Bankruptcies and wide-boys continue to plague the industry.

In fact they arguably take what was one of the few ways for minorities in many areas to make significant money and place that chance into the hands of whites – or at least those with the wealth and connections to secure the limited number of official legal licences to sell being offered in each state.

It’s much the same on the consumption side too. Significant resources are being devoted to securing the release of Brittney Griner (admittedly a minority in multiple ways, being black and gay) from jail in Russia over possessing a small amount of cannabis. Yet umpteen numbers of American citizens languish in US jails for exactly the same crime – despite repeated promises of clemency and exoneration. If only they had been seized and held by a different war-mongering nation.

 

Give existing sellers the right to carry on

 

So what can be done? A campaigner for John Fetterman, the democratic candidate for the Senate seat in Pennsylvania, recently suggested simply granting licences to those already distributing cannabis. After all, they know what they’re doing, and it would perhaps be a way of keeping the rich from getting richer.

Of course such a suggestion would be a political non-starter. But more has to be done to address the rapid transition of cannabis from criminal product to lucrative commodity.

And given that scams such as Juicy Fields continue to thrive in the industry, showing that checks or background searches are no bar to bad characters entering, why not give those convicted or currently running “illegal” cannabis businesses a shot at legitimacy?

It certainly seems likely that the guys that have been selling dime bags on the corner outside the Quick Stop for decades are less likely to mismanage selling a drug so badly they go bankrupt.

For now the only thing more frustrating than watching someone fail to turn a profit from selling weed must be to do so while confined behind bars for doing (or consuming) the exact same thing.

Freddie Dawson CBD-Intel staff

Photo: Adam Jones

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