Fourteen cannabis companies are moving closer to being licensed and entering the legal marijuana market after the Connecticut Social Equity Council approved a new round of applications.
The board approved 14 nominees recommended by its third-party consultant CohnReznick LLP at its Oct. 18 meeting. It approved one carrier application, three food and beverage applications, one product manufacturer application and nine joint venture applications.
A social equity nominee comes from a “disproportionately affected area,” which the council redefined this week in light of updated census information. These candidates are eligible if they come from communities where the “the historical conviction rate for drug-related offenses is higher than [10%].”
Edwin Shirley, a council member appointed by the Democratic state Senate Majority Leader, said the new recertification helps the council’s social equity efforts.
“I think using conviction rates alone is an elegant way to approach what we’re really trying to capture,” Shirley said. “By eliminating the use of employment data as part of it, we got rid of the outliers that occur in some census tracts where unemployment is unusually high but median income is also high and rates of condemnation were very, very low.”
The census previously defined a disproportionately affected area with both historic rates of drug convictions and an unemployment rate of 10% or higher.
Joint ventures match those business owners who match social equity status with a funder to subsidize the cost of starting a business.
The Social Equity Nominee “exercises operational authority over the day-to-day affairs of the company, has the right to vote to direct managing officers and policies, and receives the beneficial interests of the company” and responds residency requirements.
At its meeting, the board also rejected one food and beverage request, one delivery service request and 10 joint venture requests.
Seven applicants were given a second chance earlier this month when the council allowed them to resubmit the ownership and control section of their applications.
A consolidated lawsuit of 11 cannabis companies sued the state over the council’s denial process.
This story was originally published on October 20, 2022 by WSHU.