99% of the states out there have some form of hurdle that you, as a business owner, will need to overcome to do legal business, especially in an industry like the cannabis industry. Fortunately, there are some exciting things that are happening in the Midwest States. They are now taking social equity seriously. Tony Frischknecht keeps us on top of these things as he talks about the leap the Midwest is doing and what it allows those in this field. Join him as he expands more.
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How The Midwest States Are Taking Social Equity Seriously And What It Does To The Cannabis Industry
I am excited to announce some cool stuff that I see that’s happening in the US. We’re starting to see some trickles of stuff happening with social equity. Since it’s on the top of people’s minds and it’s in front of their faces every day, we’re starting to see some legislation come through from it. If you read some of my past episodes, I spoke with a gentleman, Chris Nani. He created the Social Equity Tool and we’re starting to see things spawn off of that. One of those things is expungement for people’s records. Forgive me if you don’t know what the word expungement means, but it’s erasing times in your life where you may have not made the best decisions and it’s nobody’s fault.
It was your fault when you did it, however, I don’t think anybody should be blamed for some small mistake that they made in their life. There are heinous crimes and we’re not talking about those, but we’re starting to see some stuff happen. I did an episode a little while back about California, how they were expunging people’s records. I read that this is happening in the Midwest, which is cool, that these guys are being progressive. In Michigan, there’s an expungement bill that passed and they’re allowing this to expunge people’s records so that they can be in the cannabis industry.
I would say 99% of the states out there have some form of hurdle that you, as a business owner or a new business owner, trying to start. This will negate you from doing a legal business, which could either keep you working in the black or gray market and eliminate you from any of the legal processes. Some of the highlights from that, we’re looking at low-level criminal offenses, probably in a small B and E, nothing major there and some felonies. There are going to be some guidelines that fall along these, but it’s in the step and the right direction. The process is allowed and this will happen after seven years after a misdemeanor and ten years after a felony. One of the worst-case scenarios is, “I had a felony a year ago and I’m changing my life. I want to step it up. I want to be a positive member of society.”
Unfortunately, you have to wait nine years in order to do that. This would negate you from joining the industry. This would also allow automatic expungement for people with two felonies and four misdemeanors. Let’s talk about this. That is a very wide range and it’s all relative to what happened in your life. If you grew up in a life of crime, it’s easy to accumulate this amount of convictions. I think there’s a lot of you that are in the middle here, if you’ve experienced a couple of misdemeanors and felony, even up to two. You could have gotten caught stealing a car, breaking into the house and stealing all the property as well as a high-speed chase, and so on.
The list can go on forever, but what this is telling me is in Michigan, they’re trying to open this up for the people that have not been put in the best situations in their life. I have to applaud them for that. Some people may disagree with me. However, everybody deserves a second chance, maybe even a third chance if you start looking at why this opens up. The other thing too that this allows is for people that have been doing illegally. This doesn’t block you from giving legitimate. Legitimacy brings a lot of peace of mind. If you guys are out there and you’re playing in that criminal world, this is a huge thing. I would suggest you think about what you can do on the other side of the line per se.Legitimacy brings a lot of peace of mind. Click To Tweet
This is a huge step forward, especially in the Midwest. I’m impressed by that. The Senate still needs to approve some of the changes in the spill and then it will be sent on to Governor Gretchen Whitmer for final approval. It’s not completely set now but we’re going in that direction. I shared with you in the past that I had had a misdemeanor when I applied for my cannabis license, my dispensary license. It’s pretty scary when you’ve already spent it. We had hundreds of thousands of dollars invested already and all of a sudden, they came out with, if you have any type of high-level crime, you can be eliminated from this process. I had had a misdemeanor and it was cannabis-related. I was concerned that I wasn’t going to get my license.
If you are in this situation, I would discuss this with an attorney and say, “Here’s a situation.” Be frank with him. One thing I learned a long time ago is if you’re not going to tell anybody the truth about what’s going on. You tell your attorney and your CPA what’s exactly going on because they will be able to give you good information. However, if you don’t give them the right information, it can land you in a lot of trouble. I had had a low-level marijuana crime that I ended up with a misdemeanor. I had to discuss everything to the state in licensing. I had to say, “This is what happened. I did A, B and C,” and I’m never going to do it again. I kept my nose clean. Since then, I hadn’t done anything.
Don’t let that stop you from at least exploring the fact of working legally in cannabis. I know that’s a fear of many, at least it was one of mine. I would say face it, at least knowing if it’s going to happen for you is a lot better than just being, “I wish I would have done this and that.” This is a big thing. I think we’re going to see a lot more states that are going to be adopting bills like this where they’re going to be allowing people second chances and being able to get in our industry. The diversity that a lot of these people bring from the business is huge for us, especially as we mature into a bigger and better industry.
This is a quick one with you. I hope you are doing well out there. Stay strong, stay safe, and stay healthy. Please come and check me out at PlantProblem.com and I’ve got better than 60 episodes you can choose from. I talk about every little thing from taxes all the way up to having interviews with political figures and so on. Please give me a try and I promise you, you will learn something for sure. At the very least, I hope to bring some entertainment for you. Thank you for joining me and I look forward to seeing you next time.
- Chris Nani – Previous episode
- Social Equity Tool
- Previous Episode – The Lifesaver Bill in California That’s Providing the Much-Needed Tax Freeze for Cannabis Businesses