By Mary Kaye Schilling - for Newsweek - June 15, 2018
On May 2, a curious billboard went up along the South 5 Freeway in Los Angeles. It read, "Recently Pardoned? We're Hiring."
And we felt strongly," said Elias, "that we needed to acknowledge the people that were caught up in the turmoil of cannabis arrests, who now have records."
The sign was located on Daly Street, not far from the Men's Central Jail and Twin Tower Correctional Facility, and paid for by Lowell Herb Co., the fastest-growing cannabis company in California. Lowell hoped to attract recently pardoned, nonviolent offenders convicted for cannabis-related crimes, and it worked: Within 24 hours, the company had received 100 résumés. In early June, it hired its first paroled employee.
California is the largest cannabis market in the world. It is also very competitive. Since its founding, in January 2017, Lowell Herb has become thenumber one manufacturer of pre-roll(meaning the joints are rolled for you). The business has grown "over a thousand percent in revenues in 12 months," said Elias, with staff increasing from five to 70-plus people in a year and a half. (Time Out Los Angelesvoted Lowell "the most innovative cannabis farm in California.") That puts the company in an advantageous position as an industry leader. "And we felt strongly," said Elias, "that we needed to acknowledge the people that were caught up in the turmoil of cannabis arrests, who now have records."
"I think the reason why is that the people we connect with—the businesspeople who know me personally, who know what we're about—understand that this is true and dear to our hearts and what we believe in, not a random idea or marketing tool or whatever," said Elias, whose company is noted for its responsible and organic cannabis farming. "It's the core ethos of our business."