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lip balm connecticut cannabis council audiokush hq

The Connecticut Cannabis Council Chapstick Crisis: What You Need To Know

The Connecticut Social Equity Council has come under fire for the alleged misappropriation of funds.

Andréa Comer’s concerns reached the office of Connecticut Governor, Ned Lamont, when the chair of the SEC’s finance committee declared her resignation, due to what she perceived to be frivolous and potentially unethical spending by the organization.

According to a statement on the State of Connecticut’s official website, the “Social Equity Council was developed in order to make sure the adult-use cannabis program is grown equitably and ensures that funds from the adult-use cannabis program are brought back to the communities hit hardest by the ‘war on drugs’.”

Chairwoman Comer became increasingly concerned by the spending practices she observed during her time in the SEC in 2023 and 2024. Some of these financial concerns include $35,000 spent on an in-state cannabis conference, at which the SEC had only sponsored $2,800, for lodging, promotional items, and “incidentals” and a further $3,780 on SEC branded, melon flavored lip balm.

Comer is right to worry that the state will not continue to allocate generously to an organization that is not appropriately using its funding and that this funding will not go to the places in the community it is most needed under the SEC’s current way of functioning.

Connecticut State Capitol, Hartford

“The Social Equity Council, as dictated by the adult-use cannabis law, Public Act 21-1, consists of 15 members, seven (7) of whom are appointed by legislators, four (4) of whom are appointed by the governor, and four (4) of whom are ex-officio members.”

These members are bound under the organization’s Statement of Ethics.

In a 2021 interview regarding the priorities and goals of the newly-formed SEC, Comer told  Sean Teehan of the Hartford Business Journal “I don’t want to speak for the entire council, but I can tell you one of the things I am most focused on is the access to capital for those folks who are looking to get into the market… Small business owners, particularly those owned by Blacks, Hispanics or Latinos, are disproportionately denied credit when they apply for it, even if their credit scores and personal wealth and revenue may be the same [as non-minorities].”

Comer was appointed to the council in 2023 under Treasurer Erick Russell. In addition to serving as Russell’s chief of staff, Comer was appointed to be his designated member of the SEC. This was Comer’s return to the role as she had been involved in the SEC as the organization’s first chair and even helped in the early stages of Connecticut’s cannabis management including implementing a lottery system for applicants wishing to obtain a Connecticut cannabis industry license, as Deputy Commissioner in the Department of Consumer Protection.

Comer will remain in her role as chair until a better oversight process is implemented in the SEC. It is unclear if she will do following this period at this time.