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Connecticut Pot Council To Look At Past Arrest Data To Make Equity Determinations

Jeff Chiu

A panel will consider who takes part in Connecticut’s legalized pot market by using drug arrest data since the early days of the Reagan administration.

Governor Ned Lamont told the first meeting of the 15-member Social Equity Council that the state could make as much as $40 million a year from pot sales.

He said he would like the panel to ensure that Connecticut is a national leader by using the money to help the state’s most disadvantaged communities.

“Be careful. You know I want to get this right. A lot of people around the country are looking at us. Make sure this money is invested in an appropriate way. Make sure you are there to help those young entrepreneurs as they are getting on their feet. Give them a little bit of expertise they need to keep going,” Lamont said.

State economic development commissioner David Lehman is a member of the Social Equity Council. He said looking at arrest data would help them target communities affected by the war on drugs.

"I think this is a good starting point. And over the next six months, if we need to change or amend this we should make that as a recommendation to the legislature to expand for next year,” Lehman said.

The panel said residents in 35 Connecticut cities and towns will likely have priority to receive business licenses to sell marijuana.

Pot sales are expected to begin in Connecticut by the end of 2022.

Copyright 2021 WSHU

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.