As Connecticut’s Social Equity Council prepares to wade through over 20,000 applications for cannabis licenses, its Governance Committee approved new bylaws without public discussion following an executive session during the committee’s June 22 meeting.
The proposed bylaws, which were not made public during the meeting, came after the council has had previous difficulties with members who failed to disclose conflicts or failed to regularly attend meetings. They will next need to be approved during the next full Council meeting in July before they go into effect.
“Will someone send out those bullets regarding each committee to the other Council members so that they’re clear what they are voting for prior to the next full meeting?” asked Council member Michael Jefferson during the only actual discussion of the bylaws before the committee unanimously approved them.
Toward the end of the meeting, the committee went into executive session to discuss the proposed bylaws, continuing a recent trend by the Council of going offline during remote meetings for executive discussions.
Aside from bylaws, the committee also discussed the planned organizational chart for the Council, which is planning to grow as applications for adult use licenses continue to flood in.
The state has received 23,487 applications for social equity licenses and 13,806 applications for general licenses, as of the morning of June 23.
Those applications will first have to go through a lottery process, conducted by UConn, before lottery winners are sent to the SEC to verify their status. Additional lottery winners will be drawn to replace any candidates that fail to qualify for SEC status.
The SEC is also looking to expand its administrative and paralegal staff to assist with an expected influx of applications and legal requests to contend with.
“We have no doubt that we will be fielding more Freedom of Information requests and other legal information requested from us. as well as contracts that we have to review, it’s going to be probably too much for our staff attorney to handle,” said Executive Director Ginne-Rae Clay.
Clay noted that under her new organizational chart, she removed the position for brand officer, since the SEC recently signed a contract with Camelo for marketing services.
The SEC currently has five employees, the interim executive director, a program manager, staff attorney, communications director and administrative assistant. Under the current organization structure, the SEC plans to hire two more program managers, and three more assistants.
“I get it, I support it, I just don’t see who’s answering to who, which could create some problems down the road,” said Council member Michael Jefferson.
At the onset, all employees would report directly to the executive director, Clay also said that at some point, it would likely make more sense for specialized assistants, such as the paralegal, who would report to the council’s attorney.
The Council is also planning a single-day retreat for this fall, to discuss 2023 legislative priorities, review recent efforts from subcommittees and discuss the Council’s reinvestment strategic plan.
The full Council is expected to vote on the committee’s recommendations during its July 12 meeting.