You're filling out a job application and get to an uncomfortable question: have you ever been convicted of a crime?
Roughly 7.3 million people were arrested for marijuana possession in the U.S. between 2001 and 2010, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. The arrests could have a detrimental impact on someone's life, threatening public housing and college financial aid. A criminal record — even for marijuana crimes — can shut down a job interview, too.
Eric Gaston, owner of two soon-to-be-open marijuana dispensaries in Washington State, thinks that's a narrow-minded approach.
“We will look to hire hard working, kind hearted, team players who are genuinely enthusiastic to be working with cannabis,” he told Forbes marijuana reporter Julie Weed. “None of those things are antithetical to a criminal record.”
In search of kind employers (Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Gaston is part of a new generation of marijuana business owners who want prospective applicants to include their marijuana experience, in whatever capacity.
One tip: if you're applying for a cannabis industry job, he suggests creating two resumes, one regular and one for weed.
"She put a face to the kids that are hurting."
That's how Jeremy Pauling described his 8-year-old daughter Katelyn after she passed away on Friday, according to NBC affiliate KARE. The Minnesota girl suffered from a debilitating seizure condition that some parents around the country have treated with cannabis oils.
Last year, Jeremy Pauling and his wife Kristy traveled regularly to the state capital to petition for cannabis as a form of treatment. The campaign was a success: lawmakers passed a limited medical marijuana law in May 2014.
The law doesn't go into effect until July, but Jeremy Pauling is glad his daughter's story helped make the drug available to other children.
“If my little girl can do that to help somebody else’s little girl or boy, I’m happy," he told the Star Tribune. "It makes me feel better inside.”
Even in states with medical marijuana programs, cannabis technically remains illegal on a federal level.
A law proposed in the Senate earlier this month aims to change that — and it's gaining supporters.
Reps. Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee) and Don Young (R-Alaska) introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives on Tuesday. The legislation still has an uphill battle to passage, but it's opening up a historic debate in Congress.
The federal government currently considers marijuana one of the most dangerous illicit drugs, on par with heroin or LSD, a designation Cohen called "ludicrous" in a statement yesterday.
The legislation, spearheaded in the Senate by Sens. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), would reclassify marijuana from Schedule I to the Controlled Substances Act to Schedule II, making it easier for researchers to study its effects.
Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.