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Connecticut cannabis alliance formed to help minorities participate in the legal pot business

Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public Radio
Cannabis seedlings grow at the University of Connecticut.

A Connecticut business incubator and the state’s largest workforce development agency have joined forces to help Black and Latinx entrepreneurs join the state’s legal cannabis business.

The state law that legalizes adult recreational use of cannabis includes a social equity provision to ensure minority participation in the business. The Connecticut Community Outreach Revitalization Program is a Hamden-based minority business incubator. It has joined with The WorkPlace to create the Alliance for Cannabis Equity.

“We are not advocating for the industry. We are simply making resources available for those who are interested in entering the business. Making the resources available so they can be successful if they so choose” said Carlton Highsmith, the board chair of ConnCORP.

“We are going to have to provide the social equity entrepreneurs who want to get into this industry with the information and the resources to be successful,” said Fred McKinney, head of an entrepreneurship center at Quinnipiac University School of Business. “Without that information and resources we are not going to be successful in achieving equity in the cannabis industry in Connecticut.”

The Alliance for Cannabis Equity is taking the first step to prepare clients for the application process. That process is set to begin soon after the state’s social equity council that oversees the verification of applicants meets next month.
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As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year. In addition to providing long-form reports and features for WSHU, he regularly contributes spot news to NPR, and has worked at the NPR National News Desk as part of NPR’s diversity initiative.

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