Connecticut’s Cannabis Chamber of Commerce officially launched on Tuesday, hoping to become a voice for the nascent cannabis industry just as the state’s application period for adult-use licenses opened up.
“Our goal is to be a resource for folks looking to get into the business or for industry members who are already in the business here in the state on [the] medical side,” said founder and President Adam Wood, in a telephone interview with Grown In. “As we grow and evolve, we hope to become a voice for the industry.”
Wood explained that the Connecticut chamber would ideally represent a wide swath of businesses beyond the scope of cannabis operators. This includes architects and realtors, or companies that specialize in equipment that is used at cultivation or manufacturing sites.
“We’ve even had printers contact us saying, ‘we want to get into the business.’” he said. “I think everyone has an interest and as the industry matures, I think the opportunities will become clearer and I think the focus of the organization will become clearer as the stakeholders are set.”
As the organization, and its industry, begin to grow, the chamber of commerce plans to hold a series of networking events for current and would-be operators, as well as provide guidance for social applicants that are attempting to navigate the new lottery process.
“They’re a lot of details and it can be really challenging to navigate, particularly for new entrants,” said Wood. “I think there were some basic questions. Like what is the definition of a social Equity applicant. We’re here to be a resource.”
Connecticut opened up its application window for adult-use licenses on a staggered schedule, where each week, starting on Feb. 3, a new category of license will begin taking applications. That state began accepting bids for micro-cultivator licenses on Feb. 10. Social equity applicants, who are guaranteed access to half of the available licenses, qualify based on whether or not they live in a census tract that the state determined was disproportionally impacted by the War on Drugs.
Wood worked on the state’s adult-use legalization campaign on behalf of the Marijuana Policy Project. He also served on the transition committee for Governor Ned Lamont, who would go on to sign the state’s cannabis legalization bill last June.
The chamber’s website also lists Deborah Caviness and Daniel Glissman as co-founders. Caviness was co-founder of the state’s Black Chamber of Commerce and served on the state’s Cannabis Social Equity Advisory Committee. Meanwhile, Glissman, an attorney and partner at MacDermid, Reynolds & Glissman, has experience working with prospective medical and adult-use cannabis operators.
The chamber’s website only lists its three co-founders as members, Wood said that was because the organization was still new, and while there are several medical operators and prospective adult-use operators that are in the process of becoming members, but he was reluctant to share any specifics on the record.
As the legalization of cannabis has spread among states, so too has the emergence of local cannabis chambers of commerce, including state chambers in New Mexico and Ohio and a national cannabis chamber of commerce with regional chapters in California and the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut Tri-State area.