From Prison to the Legal Cannabis Industry: Conbud Creates Opportunities for the Formerly Incarcerated

When New York state legislators legalized recreation pots last year, they took steps to ensure that people affected by the war on drugs and members of poorly serviced communities paved the way for the emerging legal cannabis industry. Was enthusiastic about including. Under these so-called social justice provisions, half of all marijuana businesses license to women, veterans, minorities, suffering farmers, and communities “disproportionately affected by drug ban enforcement policies.” Reserved for “individuals who lived”. New York went one step further when Governor Kathy Hokul announced in March that the first 100 licenses for adult cannabis retailers would apply to those previously convicted of cannabis crimes.

For many cannabis policy reformers, New York’s progress on social equality has been a welcome change since the early days of legalization, sometimes eradicating past convictions, but otherwise drug. He left the victims of the war with little hope of investing in the industry. However, even with strong impartiality, individuals at the mercy of the war on drugs, especially members of the black and brown communities, still face significant obstacles to gaining a foothold in legitimate weed operations. I am.

Cannabis retailers coming to New York

Coss Marte is one of many entrepreneurs aiming to obtain one of the first 100 licenses in New York for recreational cannabis retailers. After spending six years in prison to sell weeds, he meets the requirements set by Hochul and the New York Cannabis Administration. Growing up, he was introduced to marijuana at an early age.

Eventually, he saw drug sales as one of the few viable financial opportunities he had available. Long before legalization, Marte began supplying cannabis and other medicines to New Yorkers through the New York underground industry. However, after a short period of great success, the operation collapsed when he was arrested and sentenced to seven years in prison.

“I started trading at the age of 13 and started escalating from there,” he explains. “At the age of 19, I ran one of New York City’s largest drug delivery services. I did delivery services and generated about $ 5 million in revenue. And I Knocked and everything ended at the age of 23. “

Get inspiration from adversity

Now out of jail, he is well prepared to succeed in the regulated cannabis industry in New York. But his plans for the industry are not limited to finding a way to his own success. If he succeeds in obtaining one of the coveted retail licenses, Marte’s plans include providing other previously imprisoned members of the community with a path to employment in the cannabis industry. Will be. That’s a job he’s well suited to. When Marte went to jail, it soon became clear that it was a time of contemplation and some serious life changes. Finding a career in his life after prison was one priority, but he also realized a health crisis that required more immediate attention.

“When I entered, the doctor told me that my cholesterol levels were passing through the roof, and if I didn’t eat properly or start a diet, I could probably die of a heart attack.” He says. “So I basically started exercising relentlessly, and I managed to lose over £ 70 in 6 months.”

Encouraged by his success, Marte soon helped others behind the bar on the road to fitness. He started a training program in the prison yard, helping more than 20 prisoners lose a total of more than £ 1,000. Marte, an entrepreneur, saw opportunities to overcome challenges and began planning new businesses.When he was released, he started ConbodyFitness methods managed and practiced by former prisoners. Marte founded Conbody with the mission of blaming previously imprisoned communities, especially black and brown returnees, facilitating integration into society and changing the systematic injustices of the criminal justice system. did.

Marte’s leadership has made Conbody a model for creating opportunities for previously imprisoned people. He works with more than 100 previously imprisoned individuals and is reasonably proud of the group’s 0% recidivism rate. To ensure continued success and create new opportunities in Conbody, he also decided to place more than 50 trained professionals in positions in the New York fitness industry. I’ve been involved. But he doesn’t stop there. A completely different project helps people re-entering society from the prison system find employment in the media industry.

“I also launched another non-profit organization. Second chance studio, I am the co-founder there, “he explains. “We were able to hire six people from the prison system. It’s an apprenticeship program. We teach them audio engineering and video production. Half of the graduates in the last graduation class are on MTV. I was allowed to work at. “

Courtesy of Combad

Enter Combad

With the legalization of recreational marijuana in New York, Marte has set a new goal.He started now Combad, A company he wants to get one of New York’s first licenses for cannabis retailers. And like Conbody, his plans include creating opportunities for previously imprisoned individuals.

“I want to hire people from systems affected by the war on drugs,” he says.

Like many entrepreneurs trying to pave the way for the cannabis industry, Marte faces the challenge of raising money to fund its efforts and is looking for investors. However, partnering with a family of two who are successful in the New York City bar and restaurant industry, Combad has already secured one potential retail store in the Bronx and acquired another location on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I am working on doing. Marte is already preparing to start the application period, as regulators want to start retail sales by the end of the year, and consultants, accountants and statutory agents are already hired and working.

“I’m on board,” Marte said, clearly hoping to keep the process moving forward. “All the paperwork is ready just to make things happen.”

“I’m one of the huge number of people in New York who are covered by this license, so I want to do it right,” he adds. “And I want to make sure I give back to the most affected people, as you know.”

Marte says regulations that limit him from running three retail weed stores affect the number of jobs he can offer to what he was previously imprisoned for. But he knows the need is great and encourages cannabis companies talking about social equity games to step up and hire individuals who spend time behind the bar to ban marijuana. increase. In his contact with the community, Marte says he is waiting for the opportunity to access the flow of men and women who fit the bill and put their hard-earned skills to work.

“Me too Fortune SocietyIt’s one of the largest criminal justice organizations in the city, “he explains. “They get out of the prison system, the prison system and serve more than 7,000 people a year, so I have a great relationship there and I can get people and individuals working in this area in this industry. I can do it.”

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