Stories From the Community: Omar Goodwin
Omar Goodwin, 45, is one of many people whose lives have been turned upside down by the War on Drugs. In 1998, he was arrested for small possession and, even though his case was thrown out, the arrest remains on his record.
“Anytime my record is pulled by police officers, they go into a negative mode because of the past arrest,” said Goodwin, “I’ve always had to prove myself, bring in extra paperwork to prove there was no conviction.”
Although Adult Use Cannabis will be made legal in PA in the near future, the minor possession offense from when he was barely an adult negatively impacts his employment, housing and relationships to this day. “If I get pulled over now, the police judge me on that,” said Goodwin. He is still waiting to get his record expunged.
Since that time, he has gotten a CDL license, started taking courses at LaSalle where he was employed as a bus driver, and in 2021, he started a course for Cannabis Business at Jefferson University. Goodwin would one day like to educate people on the uses of Industrial Hemp or own a Hempcrete business.
“Cannabis is so important to legalize because people don’t know there is a difference between Hemp and Cannabis,” said Goodwin, “They are stuck in old stereotypes like it’s just about blunts.”
He believes in fighting for social and economic equity that not only provides entrepreneurs entrance into the cannabis industry, but helps sustain their business growth. He believes that those most impacted by the War on Drugs should not be harmed again through its legalization.
Goodwin is active in All Together Now PA and will participate in a volunteer role as a Cannabis Ambassador. “People just don’t know a lot that people have been through– their lives have been turned around by arrests and felonies. Now with legalization, it’s hard to turn lives around.”
With adult use cannabis legalization on the horizon, we have to recognize and uplift communities and individuals who are still navigating a system that many others, especially large out of state corporations, are now legally profiting from, and provide them with opportunities to rebuild and have a stake in this new industry.