Connecticut Advances Additional Social Equity Applicants, Measures

Council also approved Curaleaf's workforce development plan.

Connecticut is poised to see its first recreational cannabis dispensary open by early next year.

The state’s Social Equity Council on Monday approved six previously denied applicants looking to gain social equity status, which gives them the ability to the have their proposals reviewed by the state Department of Consumer Protection, according to CT News Junkie.

Social equity applicants must be the first businesses to open as part of the adult-use rollout.

Additionally, the council opted to approve a plan to charge 6%-9% interest for those who are issued loans from the $50-million social equity fund.

Those who participate in the accelerator program can secure a rate as low as 4.5%.

“We’re going to have folks with sub-700 credit scores,” council member Avery Gaddis told the outlet, citing the potential of applicants having outstanding debt or spotty credit reports.

The council  already green lit 69 applicants, which includes 22 social equity cultivators.

Curaleaf (OTCQX: CURLF) saw its workforce development plans approved by the council.

Board member Subira Gordon, who is also the executive director of Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN), told the outlet that she was skeptical of the development, which she said seems “very fluffy with not a lot of details.”

Gordan chose not to vote for the plans due to the lack of evidence showing the company’s willingness to reach out to disadvantaged communities of color, she said, adding that she doesn’t believe the plans “meet the criteria to change cycles of generational poverty for my community.”

The issue partly stems from the fact that the social equity framework passed by the legislature made it so that applicants need to have $3 million to play in the program. This means that most, if not all, have to partner with businesses such as large MSOs to raise the funds.

Andréa Comer, the council’s chair, said the workforce plans were based on criteria the council developed and passed.

She added, “I’m thinking about challenges from a litigation perspective. We can always go back and look at the rubric.”

Adam Jackson

Adam Jackson covers the cannabis industry for The Green Market Report. He previously covered the Missouri statehouse for The Columbia Missourian and freelanced for The Missouri Independent. He most recently covered retail, restaurants, and other consumer companies for Bloomberg Business News. You can find him on Twitter @adam_sjackson and email him at adam.jackson@crain.com.


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