Two Connecticut-based workforce and economic development organizations last week announced the creation of the Alliance for Cannabis Equity (ACE), which will focus on social equity and the economic opportunities for Black and Brown entrepreneurs and minority workers throughout the state’s cannabis industry.
The groups — the Connecticut Community Outreach Revitalization Program (ConnCORP) and The WorkPlace — said the Alliance “is being created in recognition of the need for an authoritative and trusted resource for those interested in assuring that the social equity provisions related to adult-use cannabis are fully realized.”
In a press release, Carlton Highsmith, board chair for ConnCORP, said that cannabis legalization in the state “introduces a brand new growth industry” which will lead to the creation of “thousands of new jobs, … dozens of new businesses, [and] millions, if not billions, of dollars of wealth.”
“Provisions of the law aim to ensure that Black and Brown communities that have been disparately impacted by aggressive marijuana enforcement; that these communities not be left behind, but also benefit from the commercialization of cannabis.” — Highsmith, in a statement
Joseph Carbone, president and CEO of The WorkPlace, said the “collaboration will support underserved communities with the resources to develop enterprises and provide workers with training to access careers with good-paying, quality employment.”
“Legalized cannabis creates significant economic opportunities for entrepreneurs and workers from distressed communities to gain skills and advance in the growing cannabis industry,” he said in a statement.
State lawmakers approved the reforms earlier this year and parts of the law, including possession by adults, took effect on July 1. Officials had expected retail sales would begin sometime next year; however, in September, Commissioner for the Department of Consumer Protection Michelle Seagull indicated the rollout could be delayed.
The state’s 15-member Connecticut Social Equity Council, which was created by the legalization law, has already held meetings, the Associated Press reports. In August, the council approved 215 communities that will be given priority for cannabis licenses and access to special equity programs.
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