Social equity in marijuana industry still largely pipe dream – Las Vegas Sun

Thomas Peipert / AP

Terrence Hewing poses for a portrait in Denver on Saturday, April 3, 2021. Hewing, who was convicted of felony drug possession in suburban Denver in 2008, lost his job and for years struggled to find housing and a stable, well-paying career because of his criminal record. He is now one of only a few Black business owners in Colorado’s recreational marijuana industry. He received a social equity license through a state program aimed at correcting past wrongs from the war on drugs.

DENVER — Terrence Hewing was working for a package delivery company in 2007 when police approached his cargo van in suburban Denver. He was early for a pickup, and someone out for a walk called authorities after seeing him napping in the driver’s seat.

Officers found about a pound of marijuana inside the vehicle. That led to a couple of days in jail, thousands of dollars in legal fees and a felony conviction for drug possession. Hewing lost his job and, because of his criminal record, for years struggled to find housing and a stable, well-paying career.

“I felt like I was in a certain box in society,” he said. “There’s people that don’t have felonies and people that do. It makes you almost feel kind of outcast.”

Hewing, 39, recently became one of only a few Black entrepreneurs to receive a business license in Colorado’s recreational marijuana industry. His goal is to run a company that delivers the very substance that stained his record.

His opportunity is the result of personal ambition paired with Colorado’s effort to right past wrongs from the war on drugs.

Hewing will enter the market as a so-called social equity operator,

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