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Connecticut's cannabis equity council gets a request for more consideration for people of color

Steven Senne

The Connecticut Social Equity Council, set up to make sure that funds are returned to communities hardest hit by the “war on drugs” and that the adult use cannabis market is equitable, heard testimony from the public on Tuesday on proposed regulations.

Andrew Allen, an African American resident of Bridgeport, said he has concerns over how the Social Equity Council set up “Disproportionately Impacted Areas” or DIA and how residents would benefit from the cultivation of marijuana.

“Some other ideas that I have when it comes to the first round of social equity applicants licenses just be specifically for people of color, businesses that are majority owned by people of color instead of just being in a DIA,” Allen said.

Allen said he believes that there are plenty of white people who live in DIA’s who didn’t have the same experiences that he did and they have more money to open a business if they want to.

A list of DIAs was approved by the Social Equity Council in August of this year.

Connecticut native Tyler Crespo said he moved to Maine in order to open a cannabis production company. He said he can’t afford to cultivate marijuana in Connecticut. 

“The 5,000-square-foot canopy cultivation space that I currently operate costs $2.5 million to set up. That's currently the smallest state licensed cultivation that the state would entertain in Connecticut. So even making $210,000 annually for the last three years, you still would be forced to partner with outside interests,” Crespo said.

Connecticut is the 18th state to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over.

Natalie is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.