Lawmakers address cannabis convictions, license issues
(WFSB) - Connecticut’s cannabis program has been up and running for about five months.
Today the legislature took up a few bills.
One of these bills deals with erasing criminal records of those convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana.
Connecticut’s program is unique because there is a social equity part, and that gives licenses with a focus on disadvantaged communities money that goes back to those communities.
Those applying for the special licenses say there are obstacles.
“They’re in the process of getting capitol together -opening new businesses, hiring more people”, said Adam Wood, the President of the CT Cannabis Chamber of Commerce.
The CT Cannabis Chamber of Commerce is a new industry in Connecticut that is definitely growing.
Sales started back in January. There are thirteen locations licensed to sell cannabis to adults, and at least a couple dozen more are in the process of opening within the next year. There are four producers.
However, many applicants with social equity licenses are trying to get there business going.
“It’s very difficult – you see across the country- some of these cannabis companies have shut down”, Jason Teal from Nova Farms said.
Jason Teal has a social equity license.
Teal says he can’t deduct business expenses like payroll and rent from federal taxes because the federal government considers marijuana illegal.
Social equity licenses help create jobs in disadvantaged neighborhoods and helps fund needed programs.
Another obstacle is a $3.5 million dollar license fee.
“There’s this misconception that cannabis is an easy business to make a lot of money and the reality is there are massive barriers”, Amanda Rositano from Soulstar said.
These business owners are asking the state legislature to allow business deductions on their state tax returns, and lawmakers are listening.
“Are we allowing social equity applicants to enter the marketplace – yes. Are we doing it at the levels people would prefer no. we also knew this was going to be a challenge given the finances to enter this marketplace”, D-Majority leader Representative Jason Rojas said.
With cannabis legal, lawmakers are hoping to make adjustments and changes this session.
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