Members of Connecticut’s Social Equity Council are asking regulators to charter new banks to back the state’s cannabis industry, specifically, to help provide better opportunities for potential social equity applicants, WSHU Public Radio reports. The social equity council is responsible for ensuring the sale of adult-use cannabis in the state provides business opportunities for low-income and communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.
Councilmember Joseph Williams, who is with the Connecticut Small Business Development Center at the University of Connecticut, said he was concerned that the state’s cannabis market will be oversaturated with cannabis producers and vendors and also wants regulators to control the number of industry permits.
“They need to source capital. One of the biggest things around social equity that has eluded us is the lack of capital and I find we really need to address that as quickly as possible.” — Williams via WSHU
The council plans give individuals with a previous cannabis arrest or conviction priority for an industry license regardless of their wealth as long as they came from certain neighborhoods affected by the over-policing. The plan covers 35 Connecticut cities and towns, the report says.
The state could help finance industry licensing fees, which are set at $1,000 broadly and at $500 for social equity applicants. The state estimates cannabis-derived taxes and fees could reach as much as $40 million per year. Under state law, sales tax revenues generated from sales could be reinvested by the council.
Sales are not expected to roll out in the state until late 2022.
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