Can a Felon Own a Dispensary? -
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Can a Felon Own a Dispensary?

Can a Felon Own a Dispensary

Many felons find it challenging to land a job following their release from prison. There are resources available although felons may not believe they can get a job. Those who have hired felons have learned that they make good employees, but it might be in a different career from one felons had previously.

Some felons may have an interest in alternative medicine treatments. For some this may mean having an interest in being involved in a dispensary. This blog post will address the issue of whether or not a felon can own a dispensary.

  • What is a Dispensary?
  • Requirements to Own a Dispensary
  • An Opportunity for Felons?
  • Recommended Action

What is a Dispensary?

A dispensary is a store in which certain types of items are sold or dispensed. Since the early 1990s, cannabis dispensaries have been present in certain areas of the United States. Typically, a dispensary sells marijuana legally along with products related to cannabis usage. A dispensary is also legally allowed to grow its own cannabis.

There are two different types of dispensaries determined by the items that they carry. These are medical and recreational dispensaries. A medical dispensary is allowed to sell marijuana according to a licensed physician’s recommendation.

Employees trained as expert “bud tenders” assist people in deciding on an appropriate dose of cannabis and its method of delivery. The layout of a medical dispensary is much like a doctor’s office, giving customers the feeling of a secure professional environment.

Requirements to make a purchase at a medical dispensary are:

  • To have a physician’s written recommendation to purchase cannabis
  • To be at least 18 years old
  • To be registered at that dispensary for legal purposes
  • To consent to having purchases tracked

A recreational dispensary is often called an adult-use store for purchasing cannabis for recreational and other purposes. Requirements to make a purchase at an adult-use dispensary are:

  • To be at least 21 years old
  • To have a valid, unexpired state ID or valid, unexpired passport

Currently, 28 states permit medical dispensaries and eight of those states also allow adult-use dispensaries.

Requirements to Own a Dispensary

There are a number of requirements that must be met in order to run a dispensary. While state laws regarding owning a dispensary may vary, the following guidelines generally apply to its owner:

  • Must live in a state in which the sale of cannabis is legal
  • Must be at least 21 years old
  • Must be a state resident for at least two years prior to application
  • Must complete all required applications
  • May not be a sheriff, deputy sheriff, police office, or prosecuting officer, or be employed by a local or state licensing authority
  • May not employ anyone that hasn’t passed a criminal history record check

Additionally, several types of business licenses must be obtained to operate a dispensary, including licenses for:

  • Retail stores
  • Cultivation facilities
  • Testing facilities
  • Manufacturers of edibles and other finished goods

An Opportunity for Felons?

A felon is permitted to own a business. While it is possible for a felon to own a dispensary, certain conditions still apply as indicated in the licensing requirements.

Conditions pertaining to a felon are that he or she:  

  • May not have a drug felony conviction in the last 10 years
  • May not have any felony that has not been fully completed at least five years prior to application
  • May not be financed in whole or in part by anyone whose criminal history indicates poor moral character or a reputation that’s dissatisfactory to the respective licensing authority
  • May not have a criminal history that indicates poor moral character

If a felon applies to operate a dispensary, he or she needs to be honest in reporting any conviction. A felony that isn’t disclosed but is discovered on a background check is fraud, punishable by possibly being sent back to prison.

Felons have enough of a challenge finding work without being intentionally dishonest on an application, typically being seen as dishonest, untrustworthy, and unwilling or unable to follow directions from authority figures. Also, a felon should contact an attorney for proper legal advice when wanting to start a dispensary.

Having their record expunged can give them a clear record and the chance they need to succeed in owning a dispensary. Expunging a criminal record allows anyone to honestly state on an application that he or she has not been convicted of a crime.

Recommended Action

It is quite challenging, but it could be worth it for a felon wanting to own a dispensary. Giving him or herself the best chance for success by having his or her record expunged could make the critical difference.

Documenting any programs, education, or training he or she has completed will be beneficial. These are positive steps for a felon to take to provide strong evidence of being of “good moral character.”

Having support from family, friends, or even previous employers is essential. Felons don’t have to be defined by their crime. We are not defined by our mistakes but by how we recover from them. They can begin again and live an honest life no matter how challenging it might seem.

Families of felons are usually very invested in helping their loved one own a dispensary. Stand by your loved one, encourage them, and help them do what it takes to seek approval for a dispensary. This can be a frustrating, discouraging process to go through. Owning a dispensary will require living an honest life.

If you decide that it’s going to take a bit too much to make this happen, no problem.  We’ve created this list of companies that are willing to give ex-offenders a second chance.

What do you think about this blog post? Have you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to own a dispensary with a felony? What was that like for them, and how did they achieve success?  Please tell us in the comments below.

One response to “Can a Felon Own a Dispensary?”

  1. Myles Pina says:

    I have a violent felony in the state of California that is a year old. I have been getting calls from dispensaries about my experience and professionalism however when it comes down to the actual hiring process I am always denied the opportunity, what is the best way around this? I have been hired as an outside consultant for many dispensaries but it’s forcing me to stay in the black market when I actually try and to be legal about it. I can’t feed my family on 40-50k a year why I am choosing to stay in the black market. Any advice anyone?

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