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July 12, 2022

Five Hartford residents, 10 in Hartford area earn social equity status to open cannabis grow facilities

Social Equity Council Executive Director Ginne-Rae Clay (right) speaks at an HBJ cannabis industry event.

The Social Equity Council Tuesday morning approved social equity status for 16 disproportionately impacted area (DIA) cannabis cultivation applicants hoping to grow marijuana in their respective cities.

Forty one social equity applicants submitted paperwork for DIA cultivation licenses, a one-time 90-day window not subject to the lottery, like other license types. Last year’s cannabis law defines a disproportionately impacted area as a U.S. census tract in Connecticut that has a higher historical conviction rate for drug-related offenses, or an unemployment rate greater than 10%.

Applicants weren’t required to disclose where they intended to open their cultivator facilities, but they did submit their current residency. Of the 16 approved applicants: two live in Bridgeport; five in Hartford; one in Manchester; one in Middletown; three in New Britain; one in Southington; one in Stamford; and two in Waterbury.

The Department of Consumer Protection will now conduct background checks before awarding applicants provisional licenses for their businesses.

Social Equity Council Chair Andrea Comer called the vote “transformative” for applicants and the social equity process in Connecticut as it relates to legal cannabis.

Per section 149 of last year’s cannabis legalization law, DIA cultivator provisional licenses are granted only after the SEC verifies that the applicant: meets the criteria as a social equity applicant; submitted and passed a criminal background check; and pays $3 million that will be deposited in the Social Equity and Innovation Fund.

This pool of money will go to social equity applicants for access to capital, technical assistance for the startup and operation of a business, and funding for workforce education and community investments.

To obtain a final DIA cultivator license, the social equity applicant must provide evidence of a contract with an entity providing an approved electronic tracking system, a right to exclusively occupy a location in a disproportionately impacted area, any necessary local zoning approvals and permits for the cultivation facility, among other things. 

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