HARTFORD, Conn. — Cannabis enthusiasts from across Connecticut rallied outside the state Capitol Wednesday morning to emphasize the importance of equity in cannabis.
While April 20 is regarded as an unofficial Weed Day, cannabis crowds gathered to speak out and make demands on cannabis equity, which included:
- The killing of House Bill 5329 - Cannabis enthusiasts say gifting cannabis is not a crime, and those involved in the giving or receiving of cannabis as gifts do not deserve to be penalized.
- The release of all non-violent cannabis offenders incarcerated in Connecticut, dismissal of all existing cases, and the erasure of records for all non-violent offenders, regardless of quantity or intent, immediately and retroactively.
- Fair and equitable representation of Connecticut's Hemp and CBD community.
"Until all prisoners and people incarcerated for marijuana are released, this still isn't done; the work isn't done," stressed Joseph Accettullo with CT CannaWarriors. "We're out here gifting while they are still people currently sitting in prison."
Brandi Marshall, the owner of B's Twisted Eats, agreed and said this is why it was vital for her to make the drive from New Haven to be a part of the multi-state rally.
"And this is why we need the cannabis equity because this is what's going to help us get a step up and get our brothers and sisters a step out of the incarceration," passionately explained Marshall.
Ivelisse Correa with Black Lives Matter 860 said the war on drugs impacted many marginalized communities. She said the demands made at the rally are a way to help promote social equity within the cannabis community because equity and inclusion should be at the forefront of the legalized marijuana industry.
"People are willing to buy licenses, and they are willing to pay the taxes if they are given a real way into the market, and right now, that's not possible," said Correa.
"To have real social equity, there has to be a true entryway into the industry," Erin Doolittle with CT CannaWarriors said.
And that is the Social Equity Council's goal, according to Ginne-Rae Clay, the council's Interim Executive Director.
In addition, they are responsible for including and encouraging those who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs to participate in the legalized cannabis industry.
"It's about getting people that have been affected by the law in the prohibition of cannabis to now participate actively and equitably and making money and starting businesses and improving their communities," said Clay.
As the state makes strides, Accettullo said there's still more to be done.
"It's good to celebrate 420, but it's also good today to reflect that we have to keep pushing and not slow down just because they pass some regulations in the state," said Accettullo.
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