With the Cannabis Control Commission now accepting applications from those wishing to open marijuana retail stores, we should be very careful who makes the cut. The first wave of applicants, which began yesterday, was limited to two groups. One is registered marijuana dispensaries, which is probably wise as they’ve likely been vetted elsewhere and they’re experienced in navigating the business in a state with nascent legalization laws.

The other group though, is coming through the commission’s economic empowerment program for people and businesses disproportionately impacted negatively by the prohibition of marijuana.

That means that “priority review” would be given to applicants who meet certain criteria, including, among others­, that “at least 51 percent of employees or subcontractors have drug-related CORI.”

In other words, applicants who broke the law when marijuana was illegal in Massachusetts merit more standing that those who did not. In every other occupation in the modern American workforce, answering the question, “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” with anything but a “No” is a bad thing. But not in Massachusetts.

We should contemplate what the future of cash-heavy, criminally fraught marijuana retail establishments might look like before there is no turning back.

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