By Richard Rose
Marijuana felons are the unheralded heroes of the hemp and marijuana movements. Without them working in great danger for years to satisfy a market monopolized by the government, none of this happens. Not hemp, not medical marijuana, not the bloated stock market valuations making the rich richer.
Therefore, one of the most-abhorrent ideas is to ban them from industrial hemp and the legal marijuana industry. Even the Hemp Industries Association itself was started by a pot felon, and a drug defense attorney, before it started taking orders from an anti-pot zealot. CEO of the public company Hemp, Inc Bruce Perlowin is a notorious marijuana felon, as is “Silver Tour” Robert Platshorn of Florida, and Marc Emery of Canada. This discredited provision may rear its ugly head again in DC with the considering of the Farm Bill and various hemp bills, but has also re-surfaced in Colorado, of all places.
That it targets ONLY pot felons is particularly cruel, as there is zero public safety logic in it: still allowed are baby rapers, mother murderers, and violent armed robbers, only those merely growing or selling a plant are banned. This appears to be yet another attempt to hurt US hemp and put it at a disadvantage against hemp from Canada, likely by US investors in Canadian hemp. Introducing manufactured controversy in Colorado, a male lobbyist has been floating his pet misogynistic proposal since at least 2014, to target one person only: an effective female hemp activist and farmer. Marijuana felons have had their lives turned upside-down to satisfy private prison industry investors with an unconstitutional law, and have already paid their debt to society. Penalizing them this way is against public policy, many states even restore their vote. They deserve a hand up, not a heel down.
Make no mistake, those running the hemp associations and their lobbyists would throw felons under the bus in a heartbeat to get even only hemp fiber legal federally. They’ve told me as much. A cheap win to fatten their coffers and prove relevance as they daily become less so. But we should all cross the finish line together, especially those who have paid their debt to society already for merely growing a plant.
Past Prohibition is a sin of our fathers, but continued Prohibition is all on us.
To push-back, I suggest the following:
1) expunge the marijuana felony convictions of anyone convicted in Colorado, automatically and without application by the convicted. There, that will take care of the problem.
2) But I wouldn’t stop there; as victims of the War on Marijuana, those with pot felonies should be given preference in an application for a any type of marijuana license, in any legal state.
3) Pot felons applying to grow hemp in Colorado should have application fees waived, as well as for veterans growing hemp.
4) We have rehabilitation programs for felons of all kinds, so why not pot felons? The state of Colorado should appropriate some of the marijuana tax revenue to fund 3) above as well as a program to teach them how to grow CBD hemp flowers, or how to breed, or how to start a hemp processing business heavy on the logistics they once used to smuggle pot.
#hemp #Cannabis #Marijuana #legislation