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Months after the first recreational sales, cannabis advocates say the industry should be more equitable

A vendor points to a selection of cannabis strains for sale during a 2018 marijuana festival in California.
Richard Vogel
/
AP
A vendor points to a selection of cannabis strains for sale.

Five months after cannabis retailers made their first recreational sales, advocates and legislators say there is still work to do to make the industry equitable.

The Connecticut Cannabis Chamber of Commerce outlined critical issues on Wednesday.

Issues include the distribution of community reimbursement funds to disproportionately impacted communities and cutting business expenses for cannabis retailers.

They also oppose H.B. 6700, a bill that would allow hemp growers to sidestep the current licensing process. In other states, similar rules have created an oversupply problem.

House Majority Leader Jason Rojas said Connecticut is learning from those states.

“We need to be attentive to that because there are so many important lessons that we need to be aware of so that we don't repeat some of the mistakes, or the shortcomings that we're seeing happening in states around us, but also across the country,” Rojas said.

Nova Farms dispensary CEO Jason Teal said the industry needs to benefit the communities that were hurt by the war on drugs.

“This war has decimated Black and Hispanic households in economic foundations,” Teal said. “I'm excited to do the restorative work in our communities. In partnership with the state, we can make sure that the revenues from cannabis are reinvested into our communities.”

The Connecticut Cannabis Chamber of Commerce is made up of the state industries stakeholders.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.