While some cities and towns are considering banning cannabis stores, Norwich is embracing it. On Friday, the city hosted an informational session on cannabis. It gave people a chance to learn about state law and industry as well as how it can benefit the community.
As the state’s cannabis industry kicks off next year, Norwich is looking to pave the way for this new business.
“We are open to operating as a city in Norwich. We stand ready to do the hard work to make sure all regulations are enforced,” said Swaranjit Singh, a newly elected city councilor and member of the Norwich Foundation for Community Development.
Norwich Community Development Corporation hosted an event that drew dozens of people wanting to listen, learn, and connect. Speakers broke new state law, discussed licenses and fees, and talked about other opportunities, including education.
“That’s what the future holds. We’ve demonstrated it in a handful of other countries already. It’s better to embrace it than definitely fight it,” said Norwich resident Ethan Ichkawich.
As we are opening the cannabis industry in Connecticut, there are many opportunities for people to participate on many levels,” said Jane Ray Clay, interim executive director of the Connecticut Social Justice Council.
It can also help build communities, state and local officials say. The Social Justice Council, which was set up as part of the marijuana bill, says the money they receive will go back to neighborhoods that need it most.
“We are looking at economic reinvestment at the grassroots level in communities that have been disproportionately affected,” Clay said.
“It has an opportunity to reach and benefit all the people who live here. This is something unique. You don’t usually see anything state sponsored that has this ability to reach across the spectrum like that,” said Peter Nystrom, the mayor of Norwich.
Nystrom says he was against the recreational marijuana law, but as it passed, he says it’s about welcoming businesses with revenue that can help the entire city.
“If we can create jobs in our community, and help the rest of the community itself while increasing revenue for the municipality, I wouldn’t be able to stay in the corner,” Nystrom said.
Norwich Community Development says they plan to hold more such information sessions. To see the show you missed in session and learn more about NCDC, you can head here: https://askncdc.com/
To learn more about the Connecticut Social Justice Board, you can head here: https://portal.ct.gov/socialequitycouncil/