Social Equity Council designates 215 'disproportionately impacted areas' for priority access to cannabis licenses
Retail marijuana stores will start popping up next year, and Connecticut's new Social Equity Council announced Thursday which areas will get fast-tracked for licenses.
In Connecticut, half of all cannabis licenses are reserved for “social equity” applicants from areas “disproportionately impacted” by poverty and drug convictions.
The council designated 215 "Disproportionately Impacted Areas" that will get priority access to cannabis licenses and loans in an attempt to level the playing field.
"Be careful. I want to get this right. A lot of people around the country are looking at us," says Gov. Ned Lamont.
To qualify, you must prove that:
- You’ve lived in an impacted area for five of the last 10 years (or five of the last nine years before you turned 18 years old)
- Your household earned less than $235,000 a year
Ely Avenue in Norwalk is one of the places that will have priority access.
"Everybody's been locked up for years for. Kids have been busted down here for selling dime bags," says Evon Yarrell, of Norwalk.
But not all “social equity” tracts are struggling anymore.
One of the areas also includes the private, waterfront neighborhood of Harborview. So is Stamford's South End - once struggling, now full of high-rise condos.
State officials say their hands are tied, because Connecticut’s marijuana legalization law strictly defines “social equity” tracts.
"If you look at the 833 Census tracts, for each one you determine the unemployment rate, you determine the conviction rate. If either one of them is greater than the threshold, that whole Census tract counts as a 'Disproportionately Impacted Area," says Patrick Hulin, Gov. Ned Lamont's associate policy director.
Most are hoping for change on Ely Avenue.
"I'm not going to say it's not fair because anybody really should get it. It's legal," says Kyle Palmer, of Norwalk.
To see if your neighborhood qualifies for a priority “social equity” license, click here.