With weed legislation seemingly on the horizon in the UK, American representatives have urged the government to recruit former drug dealers to help with legal trade.
Speaking at the Transform Drug Policy Foundation in Westminister this week, Shaleen Title, the legal cannabis sales commissioner in Massachusetts, told parliament that Britain should train and employ ex-dealers and people from affected communities to enter the legal weed industry – a move inspired by an initiative in Boston.
“We are on our first project with 150 people and we put out a bid to vendors who can teach them how to produce cannabis that is regulated. It also includes an ownership programme to train people who were once entrepreneurs in the underground market,” she said.
“They have skills already of course gleaned over a long number of years. It is a way to give people, and the voters that backed legalisation in our referendum what they wanted. They did not want to hand the industry over to a few giant corporations that are going to exploit it,” she explained. “If for years under drug prohibition you have this security focus on these communities, then after legalisation you can hardly say to them, ‘oh never mind now, big corporations will take this business off you, they will take it from here.’ How is that fair?”
With the UK predicted to rake in up to £3.5 billion a year from legal marijuana sales, the protection and justice of those already in the underground industry should be at the heart of the legalisation. Once legalised, the future of those previously charged with cannabis-related offences will be in question, while the fate of dealers will be at risk, as large corporations are understandably eager to benefit from the new business opportunity.
In 2018, prescribing medical cannabis for rare forms of epilepsy was made legal in the UK, but precriptions are few and far between. Last year, Canada legalised the plant but ran out of supply in a matter of days.