Illicit yesterday, legal today . . . Or maybe not. The patchy legalization of federally illegal marijuana state by state across the US means that if you want to avoid any legal surprises, it’s essential to stay on top of state laws as it relates to cannabis — both medical and recreational. Eleven states and the District of Columbia have fully legalized marijuana.
Cannabis has been a hot issue in the nation, both with federal agencies and politicians. In November, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a consumer update that includes warnings about liver damage and male reproductive toxicity. It alluded to other ill health effects relating to the use of the CBD cannabinoid. Joe Biden, former Vice President and current Democratic presidential candidate said he opposed full federal legalization of marijuana.
The division in marijuana regulation and legal status highlights a pressing key issue that lawmakers need to prioritize: how to treat those that faced jail or prison time due to their use or distribution of cannabis.
Cannabis is still one hundred percent illegal in nine states, just like it was in the days of prohibition. Yet, most states have either legalized medical marijuana, or recreational marijuana, or both. Some states have decriminalized cannabis use. Still, in a sad twist of events, in some cases, people are serving time for marijuana convictions in states where it is now legal to purchase and consume marijuana. Others may have already served time in the big house but their criminal records remain.
There is a person that aims to help those impacted by the war on drugs and criminal acts that involve marijuana. His name is Rashaan Everett. Everett, 24, a successful cannabis entrepreneur, has kicked off Good Tree, a profitable production and distribution business that has already generated $3.5 million since its inception. And he’s spreading the love (and opportunity) to others. In an ironic twist, Good Tree can’t receive Regulation Crowdfunding, simply because cannabis sales are still illegal in the eyes of the Feds. But Everett found a way around that obstacle in a way that benefits his endeavors and helps others as well.
Everett released the technology that he utilizes in his Good Tree business for licensing by other cannabis entrepreneurs and created a new company called Growing Talent. The Good Tree offshoot is currently raising money while abiding by Regulation Crowdfunding parameters. The startup has the opportunity to generate up to $1,070,000 from regular investors (i.e., doesn’t need to be accredited by the SEC standards of wealth) across the country. Everett has already received over $100,000 investor support in the first few weeks.
The spin-off aims to help “equity partners” receive specialized training in exchange for equity in the recipients’ businesses.
Here’s the cool part: to qualify for Everett’s Growing Talent program, applicants must be people of color who were negatively impacted by the war on drugs for committing marijuana-related criminal acts, or have a close relationship with someone that has experienced the wrath of marijuana prohibition.
In an interview with Forbes, Everett says, “As more and more states legalize cannabis, there is a huge opportunity to cultivate and train entrepreneurs of color, especially those affected by the war on drugs, so they can begin to sell, manage, analyze, and expand their businesses under a nationally recognized brand.”
Everett continued, adding, “We need to deschedule so that we can learn more,” he said, referring to removing marijuana from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s list of Schedule I controlled substances, those with no “currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” that also includes heroin and LSD.