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New Haven cannabis business sues Connecticut over social equity rejection

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Jeff Chiu
/
AP

CannaHealth, a medical cannabis certification company in New Haven, filed a lawsuit last week against the state Department of Consumer Protection and its Social Equity Council that oversees the rollout of Connecticut's legalized adult-use recreational cannabis industry.

The company offers disadvantaged communities education about medical marijuana and legal access through program evaluations.

The lawsuit alleges the state misunderstood just how much legal control Kebra Smith-Bolden, a nurse who founded the company, has over the business. She partnered with a Canadian investor earlier this year to raise $3 million to cover the state’s cannabis cultivator license fee, according to The New Haven Independent.

State regulators turned down her application for the joint venture because the process was reserved for social equity applicants, who are disproportionately impacted by drug policing.

Smith-Bolden’s lawyers said they disagree with the findings. She also served on the governor's Social Equity Committee, which helps set up the state's cannabis regulatory process.

Regulators have not yet responded to the lawsuit.

Mike Lyle joined WSHU Public Radio in early 2021 as a News Anchor, and was brought on full time to cover Connecticut news. He is an anchor/reporter at New England Public Media, a journalist with the National Press Club, and a weekend/fill-in news anchor at WTIC News/Talk 1080.

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