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Connecticut Cannabis Board Hires Auditing Firm to Develop Equity Cannabis Licensing Process, Arkansas’ Governor Will Not Vote in Support of Legalization, and Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Legislation Targets Fees and Diversity

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Connecticut Cannabis Board Hires Auditing Firm to Develop Equity Cannabis Licensing Process

Connecticut’s Social Equity Council – the body responsible for the cannabis application process in the state – recently hired a third-party auditing firm. The firm, CohnReznick, is tasked with developing a system to make sure that all social equity applications comply with state regulations. CohnReznick will also be in charge of recommending applicants for approval or denial. Approximately half of the state’s adult-use cannabis licenses are to go to social equity applicants. Those that apply for social equity licenses must meet specific requirements for residency, business ownership, and income. 

Arkansas’ Governor Will Not Vote in Support of Legalization

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson tweeted that he will vote “no” on Issue 4, which is the recreational cannabis legalization measure slated to appear on this November’s ballot. The Republican governor included a link to the anti-legalization group Safe and Secure Communities’ website. He said, “The science is clear. Recreational marijuana leads to increased drug use among minors & more dangerous roadways. This November, I’m voting NO on Issue 4 to legalize recreational marijuana in Arkansas and I hope you’ll join me.” However, it remains unclear whether Issue 4 will even appear on this November’s ballot, as Safe and Secure Communities filed a motion in August with the Arkansas Supreme Court claiming that the proposed measure was fraudulent and illegal. 

Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Legislation Targets Fees and Diversity 

The governor of Massachusetts signed broad legislation for reform of the state’s legal cannabis industry. The legislation is meant to promote equity and diversity in the recreational cannabis market. The new law covers a range of issues and is seen as a relief to many in the industry, including regulators with the state’s Cannabis Control Commission. The law will create a Social Equity Trust Fund to help business owners who may be adversely impacted by the fees that many local municipalities levy against cannabis businesses. The package of reform legislation will also permit local governments to pass bylaws or hold votes on whether to allow social use lounges in their municipalities.