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New York reserves first wave of marijuana retail licenses for people with drug convictions

As New York City prepares to open its first cannabis stores, the city will give people with marijuana convictions first dibs at store licenses.

It’s near impossible to be hired without a wealth of relevant experience when you’re job hunting, and in New York City, working as a marijuana retailer is no different.

To become an authorised weed-dealer, the city are looking to choose people with previous marijuana convictions, or those who are related to someone who does.

Jars of marijuana
Credit: iStock

Recreational marijuana use has been legal in New York City for just under a year, but authorised retailers are yet to be rolled out across the Big Apple.

The decision to reserve early licenses to those with previous convictions was announced by Governer Kathy Hochul on Thursday local time, in a bid to give those affected by the war on drugs an equal playing field against major cannabis companies owned by rich, white dudes.

Half of the city’s available licenses will be handed out to women, minorities, struggling farmers, veterans, and “individuals who have lived in communities disproportionally impacted” by marijuana-related convictions.

Chris Alexander, executive director of the state’s Office of Cannabis Management is excited by the initiative, explaining that New York is in a “position to do something that has not been done before.”

Meanwhile, in Australia, Victorian MP Fiona Patten has been campaigning for the decriminalisation of all drugs, opting for treatment for drug users, rather than legal action.

We absolutely love to see it. Let’s hope Australia follows through as well.