What is Ban the Box?

Ban the Box is a campaign promoting fair hiring practices for candidates with a criminal record. The Ban the Box campaign was originally created by grassroots civil and human rights organization, All of Us or None. All of Us or None fights for the rights of formerly- and currently- incarcerated people and their families. According to an official statement from the organization, “We are fighting against the discrimination that people face every day because of arrest or conviction history.  The goal of All of Us or None is to strengthen the voices of people most affected by mass incarceration and the growth of the prison-industrial complex.”

“We are fighting against the discrimination that people face every day because of arrest or conviction history.”

The basic principal behind Ban the Box (sometimes called “fair-chance policies”) is that employers should judge candidates based on their qualifications, without the pre-conceived notions often caused by knowing criminal background in the early stages of the hiring process. Ban the Box removes conviction history questions from the application process and moves background checks later in the hiring process.

Ban the Box and Cannabis

This movement is especially relevant to the cannabis industry as we’ve seen mass incarceration for non-violent marijuana offenses for years. It’s important to ensure these individuals aren’t perpetually affected as they try to join the cannabis workforce and contribute to an industry projected to be worth over $60 billion in the next decade.

Being a new industry in the midst of a possible prohibition repeal, we have a great opportunity and responsibility to build an inclusive and equitable industry; an industry that can be looked up to as a gold standard by all other industries. Ban the Box is only one of the many initiatives pushing for a more equitable job market in cannabis and throughout all industries.

Ban the Box in Your State

Although Ban the Box is a national movement, it’s important to see where it stands in your state specifically. Legislative details vary by state, and even county in many cases. As of July 1st, 2019, 35 states have adopted some form of Ban the Box or Fair-chance policy. We’ll use our home state of Colorado as an example here, but we encourage you to understand your local and state labor laws.

In Colorado, Governor Jared Polis signed the Ban the Box bill in May 2019, and it will begin taking effect in September 2019. In 2019, the bill will pertain to all employers larger than 11 employees, and in 2020 the bill will expand to include all employers, regardless of size. 

Employers will still have the right to perform background checks. In addition, they will be exempt from following Ban the Box if the law prohibits a person from holding the specific open position with a certain criminal background. Some employers are also required by law to conduct criminal history checks on all potential hires. These companies will of course be exempt as well.

How Wurk can Help your Cannabis Business

Wurk was designed and built to facilitate the healthy and compliant growth of the Cannabis industry. We take the stress out of applicant tracking, on-boarding, payroll, benefits, scheduling/timekeeping and much more. Our cannabis software, combined with personalized support and HR services from a team who knows your cannabis business inside and out, will ensure you are managing your workforce like other best-in-class organizations while avoiding compliance pitfalls.

We’re proud to support all verticals of the cannabis industry to ensure businesses can comply and thrive in this rapidly evolving regulatory market. And we know that your people are your most important asset, so we’ll give you the tools you need to protect what matters most.

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