Until states allow the immediate and automatic expungement of criminal records for all people with convictions for low-level marijuana possession, grant pardons for and release those who remain incarcerated on charges that are no longer criminalized, allow those with prior convictions to be first in line for licensing and job opportunities, and make current license holders commit to equitable hiring practices, there should be no further growth of the state-sanctioned cannabis industry. With the First Step Act now passed, it is important to turn to next steps in the fight for a fair criminal justice system. We must address the bill’s shortcoming — its failure to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.
For those without a past criminal conviction, the cannabis industry is booming in the 33 states that have legalized marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes. The industry is projected to