Julie Kushner

State Senator

Julie Kushner

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working Together for Progress

February 4, 2021

Equity Advocates and Labor Chairwomen Robyn Porter and Julie Kushner Introduce Cannabis Equity and Workforce Development Bill

HARTFORD – Labor Committee Chairwomen State Representative Robyn Porter (D-Hamden) and State Senator Julie Kushner (D-Danbury), in cooperation with members of the cannabis equity group Connecticut United for Reform And Equity (CURE-CT), have introduced legislation outlining a process for establishing an equity focused task force, a permanent cannabis commission, and a long-term cannabis jobs training program.

House Bill 6377 is titled “AN ACT CONCERNING LABOR PEACE AGREEMENTS AND A MODERN AND EQUITABLE CANNABIS WORKFORCE.” It will receive a public hearing on Tuesday, February 9.

“I am honored to introduce a framework to finally tackle the difficult issue of ending the war on cannabis users and entrepreneurs,” said Rep. Porter. “The sister struggles of cannabis equity and labor are one in the same, the search for true economic justice for our communities. Today we stand here united in the truth that there will be no cannabis industry in CT that does not center equity and justice for our communities at every step of the way.”

“As we fight through the COVID-19 pandemic and progress into a recovery period in the coming months, we must make sure that Connecticut’s recovery is equitable for all,” said Sen. Kushner. “We are considering a whole new industry for our state in legal cannabis, which has the potential to create thousands of new jobs. We must get this right from the very beginning. With Labor Peace Agreements and equity provisions we will ensure that these are good jobs with good benefits for all.”

HB 6377 will:

  • Require Labor Peace Agreements for all licenses
  • Create a workforce development pipeline to be created over 5 years
  • Quantify the negative impacts of the war on drugs in order to create a robust equity support system.
  • Create a framework for 6 license types: Cultivation, Manufacturing, Retail, Testing Lab, Delivery, and Microbusiness
  • Empower local Native American Tribes to open Tribal cannabis establishments
  • Allow for increased Research at the UConn Cannabis Sciences department
  • Allow for adults over the age of 21 to grow up to 6 plants at home

“The state of Connecticut must address the damage it did to our communities through its participation in the war on drugs,” said Jason Ortiz, President of the Minority Cannabis Business Association and Hartford resident. “The conversation around legalizing cannabis will best happen through strong leadership from communities of color, and frankly our approach will create more revenue, generate more jobs, and empower more entrepreneurs than any previous version of legalization in the state.”

“When we started the fight for equity in cannabis here in Connecticut, we committed to not supporting any bill that failed to address the harm caused by the war on drugs in Black and Brown communities. I am pleased that we finally have a bill that begins to repair that harm and will be integral in the creation of a fair and equitable cannabis industry in our state,” said Kebra Smith Bolden, President of CURE-CT and Owner of Cannahealth, a medical marijuana patient card service. “Thank you to Chairwomen Porter and Kushner and to all of the future cosponsors and coalition members for their commitment to racial and economic justice.”