In 2001, Steve DeAngelo, the CEO of Harborside Health Center in Oakland, made a deal with his friend: Steve would check the quality of a 200-pound marijuana shipment in a Maryland trailer park and instead get 10 pounds for himself to distribute it among the medical marijuana patients in the state he lived in. Everything was all right until police swooped in and accused DeAngelo of the possession of marijuana with intent to sell. In 2016, DeAngelo became CEO of probably the largest medical marijuana dispensary in the United States, but the newly established law says that he has to get a state license by 2018. By the way, the state government can easily reject the applications of those who have drug felonies on their records. DeAngelo, whose dispensary brings him the annual sales of $30 million, is going to appeal against the law to get justice. The heads of leading companies in the cannabis industry say that the new law has all chances to hurt hundreds of marijuana growers and sellers who planned to apply for the license but also had convictions on their records. Imagine what you would have to go through if the medical marijuana dispensary near you got closed? According to the words of Casey O’Neill, the board chairman of the Growers Association in California, nearly 30% of their members are in the same boat. O’Neill has a HappyDay Farm in Mendocino, where he grows his cannabis. In 2009, he was also convicted of a felony marijuana growing charge, but it was expunged, and who knows, maybe the law will bypass him.
The stakes are already too high. Today, there are more than 1250 medical marijuana dispensaries that operate in the state and reach the sales of almost $2.7 billion. In November, the situation can become even tenser as the residents will be given the chance to vote for the legalization of medical marijuana. According to the forecasts, if the residents of California vote for marijuana legalization, the state market of cannabis will reach $6.6 billion already in 2020. To fix the situation, it could be enough just to wipe the records of those people who were not caught for the same crime during last 5-10 years. That is the justice Steve DeAngelo and other marijuana growers and looking for.