Dec 2, 2021
Alliance for Cannabis Equity Formed in Connecticut

The Connecticut Community Outreach Revitalization Program (ConnCORP) and The WorkPlace, have created the Alliance for Cannabis Equity (ACE) between the two organizations. ACE is being created in recognition of the need for an authoritative and trusted resource for those interested in assuring that the social equity provisions related to adult-use cannabis are fully realized.

The alliance will focus on social equity and the economic opportunities for Black and Brown entrepreneurs and minority workers in the field of cannabis across the state of Connecticut.

“Legalized cannabis creates significant economic opportunities for entrepreneurs and workers from distressed communities to gain skills and advance in the growing cannabis industry. The role of ACE is to assure that the social equity provisions related to adult-use cannabis are fully realized,” said Joseph Carbone, president and CEO, The WorkPlace. “This collaboration will support underserved communities with the resources to develop enterprises and provide workers with training to access careers with good paying, quality employment.”

The emphasis on social equity will create significant economic opportunities for Black and Brown entrepreneurs and minority workers within the state.

“The legalization of cannabis introduces a brand new growth industry into Connecticut,” said Carlton Highsmith, board chair, ConnCORP. “Thousands of new jobs will be created. Dozens of new businesses will be created. And millions, if not billions, of dollars of wealth will be created. Provisions of the law aim to insure that Black and Brown communities that have been disparately impacted by aggressive marijuana enforcement; that these communities not be left behind, but also benefit from the commercialization of cannabis.”

ACE will also underwrite a manifesto that will be distributed free over the internet to prospective social equity cannabis entrepreneurs. The manifesto will be designed to make social equity cannabis entrepreneurs more successful and to improve the economic and social conditions in low-income communities of color in the state. Employers in the growing cannabis industry will require skilled, credentialed workers and ACE will help build a pipeline which includes people from the most impacted communities across Connecticut.

“The Manifesto’s goal is to help make the Connecticut Social Equity Council’s intention a reality, said Fred McKinney, Ph.D., founder BJM Solutions. “We know from the experiences of other states that legalized recreational use and addressed equity in their laws that the gap between law and practice can be significant. We want to learn from the successes and failures of other states and from the unique conditions of this industry and the law in Connecticut.”

ConnCORP and The WorkPlace will also collaborate on several listening sessions with communities across the state to create a dialogue with the minority entrepreneurs that will benefit from the work.

Photo at top: (L to R) Andrea Comer, Committee Chairwoman Connecticut Social Equity Council, Carlton Highsmith, Joseph M. Carbone, Dr. Fred McKinney after the Alliance for Cannabis Equity launch on Nov. 23.

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