Massachusetts Commission Encourages Marijuana Businesses to Hire People with Drug Convictions

America's drug laws have disproportionately hurt minority communities around the country. To rectify these damages, many states legalizing marijuana have attempted to institute programs to help disadvantaged groups in the new industry. And now Massachusetts will go so far as to encourage businesses to hire people with drug convictions.

A Massachusetts commission working to create regulations and guidelines for the state when recreational legalization becomes law announced a plan to help support minority groups in the new marijuana industry. As part of the state's procedure for issuing licenses to cannabis businesses, companies with a track record of hiring people from poorer areas and minorities will be given priority access. The commission also said that businesses that hire people with prior drug convictions would also be moved to the front of the line in the licensing process.

"It's very well established that across the country — and Massachusetts is no exception — that there have been significant racial disparities in the way that marijuana prohibition has been enforced," said Commissioner Shaleen Title. "And I give so much credit to the Legislature for the way that they proactively addressed that question and gave us these mandates to make sure those communities are identified and then included."

The commission's proposal isn't necessarily set in stone. The members will work on proposed regulations for the rest of the week and the public will be able to comment on them before the legislature finalizes them in March. But it seems hard to believe that anyone would have an issue with this system.

(h/t WGBH)


I've been covering cannabis for nearly five years, and by now I'm all too accustomed to the impersonal cannabis conference at a stuffy, generic hotel or expo hall, brimming with white guys in suits, and generally lacking in the spirit of well, cannabis. (The woes of legalization, I suppose.) So it was a breath of fresh air when I walked into what felt like a giant atrium in downtown LA for a new kind of cannabis conference. Located in what's called the Valentine Grass Room in an industrial area past the hustle and bustle of the DTLA skyscrapers, Microscopes & Machines (M&M) boasted a diverse array of speakers, from doctors and lawyers to chemists and cultivators on the frontlines of the cannabis industry.

Can we see some ID please?

You must be 19 years of age or older to enter.