You Can’t Sit With Us: Barriers to Entry in the Business of Recreational Marijuana

If marijuana becomes legal for recreational use in California, who do we want growing and selling it? My research and writing for the Drug Law and Policy Blog will explore two of the barriers to entry into the recreational marijuana industry: capital requirements and criminal records. By looking at the economic barriers to entry and legislation that prevents the justice involved from receiving licenses in states who have legalized recreational marijuana, I want to explore who is being excluded from the “green rush.” The ultimate question is whether we are excluding communities of color and the indigent, communities who have been the most adversely affected by the war on drugs.

The arena of drug policy interests me because it is closely tied to the field of criminal law and disproportionately impacts indigent communities. I came to law school interested in pursuing a career in social justice and public service and I have since narrowed my interest to indigent criminal defense. I interned at the Santa Clara Office of the Public Defender for six months in 2014 and found the work to be both challenging and rewarding. Currently, I am working at the Northern California Innocence Project, a clinic providing representation for the wrongfully convicted, run through Santa Clara University School of Law.

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