Cells in Alcatraz prison, San Francisco, California

No Cannabis Criminals in the Cannabis Industry

Alaska’s draft regulations indicate that a cannabis felony in the last five yeas means a “marijuana handler’s permit” may be unattainable.

The rules are, of course, different for alcohol. Anyone can sell alcohol by getting an Alcohol Professionals card. Applicants for the card have no criminal restrictions.

The other legal states have their own arbitrary restrictions.

In Colorado, problems arise if you have a controlled substance-related felony from the last 10 years. Fortunately, past convictions don’t completely exclude you, but not so in Oregon.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission says applicants for cannabis worker permits are not eligible if they’ve been convicted of a felony involving controlled substances, including cannabis, in the last three years.

Only in Washington does the state take a laissez-faire approach. There is no cannabis occupational licensing for workers.

I don’t expect Canada to follow Washington’s lead. At least, not in that respect. Likely, Canada’s will be stricter than Alaska’s draft regulations.

There’s a reason Justin Trudeau won’t decriminalize or pardon criminal records and it has nothing to do with organized crime or protecting the children.

He won’t do it because legalization likely won’t expunge those records.

In the halls of the Ottawa Bubble, there are rumours that the new legal regime will exclude those with cannabis criminal records.

Since this implies a legal regime still keeping track of who had a record, one assumes that, under legalization, one will still have that record.

From a legal standpoint, retroactively wiping adjudicated decisions from a court of law isn’t easy.

Take, for example, the last person in Canada to be charged for having gay-sex. George Klippert continued to serve his sentence after homosexuality was legalized.

And people charged during alcohol prohibition weren’t exonerated when those laws became null and void.

There is simply no precedent for a mass exoneration.

If the Liberals attempt to do it, it will be the first of its kind, but it still doesn’t guarantee former cannabis criminals a spot in the new legal regime.