Cannabis Now reports
A licensed medical marijuana cultivator in Ohio has teamed up with a nonprofit serving formerly incarcerated people to provide an employment education program for past cannabis offenders.
An Ohio nonprofit organization providing services for formerly incarcerated people has teamed up with a medical marijuana cultivator to develop a cannabis jobs training program for individuals with past marijuana convictions.
Dubbed URC Grows, the collaboration between United Returning Citizens and Youngstown, Ohio licensed growing operation Riviera Creek Holdings LLC aims to pair past cannabis offenders with industry jobs in the state’s legal cannabis market.
“This program will give [the past offenders] an opportunity to get back into the workforce,” Brian Kessler, chairman of Riviera Creek Holdings, told The Business Journal.
The new jobs program will be open to those with prior marijuana-related offenses including cannabis possession, sales or cultivation on their records. Dionne Dowdy, executive director of United Returning Citizens (URC), told a local television news team that URC Grows is an attempt to address the harms caused by the failed War on Drugs while ensuring that the economic benefits of legal cannabis are shared with the most impacted communities.
“There were so many people that were jailed by this and now that everyone is making money off something that they are already sitting in jail for, we want to give them an opportunity. Everyone needs a second chance and these are the things that they can do that [are] just natural to them, that they will thrive in, so why not give them this opportunity,” Dowdy said.
Dowdy added that she has already signed up two prior cannabis offenders for what she hopes will be an initial class of 10 students. Graduates of the cannabis job training program will be prepared to work in Ohio’s growing medical industry, which currently serves approximately 200,000 registered patients.
“We already have a problem with workforce now but if we’re taking the next people that are coming and we’re training them and giving them an opportunity; to have a job, to have a career, to take care of their family, not only would it help them – it would help our city, it would help our community, it will help with the crime,” Dowdy said.