In Colorado, we have a robust medical and adult use cannabis industry. Local and state leaders control regulation. The Colorado adult use market was the first in the country to be created by ballot initiative. In November 2012, Colorado voters approved Amendment 64. As a result, this led the way for the adult use market to kick off in January 2014. This proved a significant moment in cannabis legalization. The voters created the change they wanted to see in their community. They went to the ballot box and voted in favor of cannabis regulations that allow for responsible and safe consumption and sales.
Since then, the Colorado state legislature has taken up several issues in support of the industry. These include reducing barriers for people who want to work for cannabis businesses. State leaders initially banned those with prior felony convictions. People with convictions in the past 5 years could not work in the adult use industry. In 2019, lawmakers amended that rule. The update excluded those with felonies discharged within the prior 3 years. This was a step in the right direction to increase diversity and participation in the industry. We can continue to advocate for changes like this that will help to increase equity in employment and entrepreneurialism.
There are many ways to connect your unique skills and experience to the industry. Recalling the ways that advocates articulated the need for compassionate care for HIV patients, and found ways to protect pioneer farmers in the 1980s and 1990s, we can give voice to the diverse needs in cannabis. For example, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have more work to do than ever to fight for health justice. As well as for those of us in the medical, science, and research fields to work in finding ways that cannabis can help ease physical and psychological ailments.
Many pathways exist to pair our skills and interests to the cannabis industry. Ajoya stands in harmony with professionals, activists, and educators who seek to connect and create an equitable and diverse cannabis community. We want to work with you to design tools and solutions for everyone to celebrate themselves and lift up the dynamic history of cannabis to a place of justice for all.