Cannabis Liberation Day

July 1, 2019 marks the two year anniversary of the beginning of legal cannabis sales in Nevada and at Oasis Cannabis Dispensary in Las Vegas, and we are celebrating Cannabis Liberation Day! This is a time to reflect on the end of cannabis prohibition and how normalization of cannabis consumption will benefit society in the future.

The typical conversations about the benefits of legalization are centered around the economic growth. It’s hard to ignore the stimulus local economies receive when they legalize cannabis sales. In Nevada alone, thousands of jobs were created with above average wages, the cash-strapped state and local governments suddenly had access to tens of millions of dollars in taxes and fees. Other industries like insurance, construction, security, and packaging suddenly had a huge market sector of new customers to reach. The money raked in by state and local governments has gone toward education and to help with the homeless problem in Southern Nevada. It’s hard to ignore or argue against economic improvements presented by liberating cannabis use and sales.

Something equally, if not more important, that doesn’t get mentioned enough is the social justice reform that began on the first Cannabis Liberation Day, July 1, 2017. More focus needs to be placed on righting the wrongs of an unjust war on drugs, specifically with the war on cannabis now that it is legal in many states. Many medical patients and consumers still have fears of pre-employment drug tests showing a positive result for cannabis use and there are those with criminal records for something that would now be considered legal in the state of their conviction. Nevada cannabis consumers have new reason to celebrate on this anniversary of Cannabis Liberation Day with the recent passage of AB132 and AB192 in the state legislature. These bills provide unprecedented protections for consumers and long-overdue criminal justice reform.

Beginning on January 1, 2020, most Nevada residents who are cannabis consumers no longer have to worry about passing a drug test before getting a new job. Assembly Bill 132 (AB132) “prohibits, with certain exceptions, an employer from denying employment to a prospective employee because the prospective employee has submitted to a drug screening test and the test indicates the presence of marijuana. Section 2 further provides that if an employer requires an employee to submit to a screening test within his or her first 30 days of employment, the employer is required to accept and give appropriate consideration to the results of an additional screening test to which the employee submitted at his or her own expense.” This means you can not be denied a job simply because they found cannabis in your system unless you plan to work in one of the exempted positions such as firefighters and EMTs, or if you drive a vehicle for your job. Other exemptions include positions that are required to submit to drug screening tests as required by state and federal laws, or those that could adversely affect the safety of others.  The exceptions will leave some consumers unprotected, but this is an important step to normalizing cannabis use and preventing workplace discrimination because of medical or adult-use cannabis. The solution isn’t perfect, but it is a huge step toward protecting personal liberty and preventing discrimination when it comes to cannabis use.

Social justice surrounding cannabis legalization has become a hot topic as many people are starting to acknowledge the unbalanced conviction and incarceration of minorities for possession of cannabis prior to legalization. Regardless of ethnicity, many people have convictions for crimes that would now be considered legal in Nevada. Possessing any amount of cannabis was a felony at one point, and up until 2017 people were handed a misdemeanor conviction for possessing less than one ounce of cannabis. These convictions have long-term negative impacts for people. Many people are denied jobs based on criminal history, so a minor cannabis conviction could hurt a person’s financial well-being for the rest of their life. Assembly Bill 192 (AB192) takes effect on 2019 Cannabis Liberation Day. The bill provides that when an offense is decriminalized, a person who  was convicted  of  the  offense  before  the  offense  was  decriminalized may submit a request to any court in which the person was convicted that any record of criminal history relating to the conviction be sealed. The courts and prosecuting attorneys are not allowed to deny the request unless there is a hearing where the prosecuting attorney establishes, by clear and convincing evidence, that there is good cause not to grant the request. The decision of the court to grant or deny the request is not subject to appeal. No fees may be charged by any court or agency for accepting requests to have records sealed. The passage of this bill is a huge step in the right direction to begin correcting some of the social injustice resulting from cannabis prohibition. Everyone with a cannabis conviction for something that is now legal should begin the process to have their records sealed. If you’re not sure how to start, you should contact the court clerk for the specific jurisdiction for your case in Nevada.

Cannabis Liberation Day is a perfect time to reflect on where the legalization movement has been and where it is going. Illinois recently became the first state to legalize adult-use or recreational cannabis sales through its’ legislature. More and more states will continue to follow suit until the United States federal government can no longer ignore the issue. Nationwide legalization is a movement quickly becoming a runaway train that cannot be stopped by those who refuse to educate themselves on its benefits to society. Nevadans should be proud of the part the state has played and the example we have set for other states who wish to join the movement. Nevada’s AB132 and AB192 are perfect examples of how cannabis liberty continues to evolve in the wake of legalization. There is more work to be done, but we have a lot to celebrate in Nevada. Happy Cannabis Liberation Day from all of us here in Las Vegas at Oasis Cannabis Dispensary!

 

Want to learn more about Cannabis Liberation Day? Join us at the Oasis Community Center on Monday, July 1st from 8:30AM -9:30AM for a special presentation from the LVMAA. We will be celebrating the new protections provided by legislation for Cannabis Consumers and recognizing politicians for their efforts to end discrimination for Cannabis Consumers. 

This was written by Ben Sillitoe, the founder of Oasis.

 

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