November 2nd, 2021 Minutes - Council Meeting

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Social Equity Council | Full Council Meeting

Meeting Date and Time: November 2nd, 2021, 10:00am -11am

Meeting Type: Special Meeting of the Social Equity Council
Meeting Location: Legislative Office Building (LOB), Hearing Room 1D 300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106

Chair: Andrea Comer


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A special meeting of the Social Equity Council was held in person on November 2, 2021.
This was a public meeting.


1.      Andrea Comer opened the meeting noting the presence of a quorum, called the meeting to order at 10:01 a.m. 


2.      Attendance

Council members present: 

- Ramon Arroyo
- Andrea Comer

- Subira Gordon

- Michael Jefferson

- Ojala Naeem

- Edwin S. Shirley

- Corrie Betts

- Avery Gaddis 

- Joseph Williams 

- Dr. Kelli Vallieres 

- Marilyn Alverio 

- Christine Shaw, designee for Shawn Wooden (attended virtually)

- Melissa McCaw

- David Lehman (attended virtually)


Staff attending/ presenting:  Ginne-Rae Clay, Interim Exec. Director, SEC


3.      Approval of Meeting Minutes (10/5/2021)

Andrea Comer asked for a motion to approve the minutes from the October meeting on 10/5/21.   Edwin Shirley made the motion, Joe Williams seconded.  The motion passed unanimously.


4.      Committee Reports and Call for Action


-          Finance Committee                                       Christine Shaw, Chair
Christine Shaw reported that the Finance Committee met on 10/21.  She reviewed the charge of the Finance Committee to create the budget for FY2023 and to ensure expenditures are appropriate. She spoke of the FY 2022 budget that is in place and the operating budget for FY2022.  She noted that for FY2023, the committee only need to do adjustments for the biennial budget.  She noted that there will likely be funds to carry over to 2023.  Melissa McCaw noted that the enacted budget includes a $5M carry forward to support the operating expenses for operationalizing recreational cannabis, but that that is inadequate to cover all costs, but actual costs is expected to be close to $16M, so that remains an open item for FY2022.


a.       Governance Committee                                       Ojala Naeem, Chair

-          Reported that the Governance Committee discussed the process for review of the interim Executive Director, and the group agreed that a 360 degree review should be done, and that will be done in the Feb/March timeframe.  The SEC bylaws work is ongoing. Expectations of attendance by council members was discussed.

b.       Outreach Committee                                            Marilyn Alverio & Subira Gordon, Co-Chairs

-          Subira Gordon reported on the income and residency requirements work by the committee and she presented the recommendations from the Outreach Committee as a draft that will continue to be worked on. Marilyn Alverio spoke of the work towards a marketing strategy, that staffing for communications will likely be in place in the January timeframe and how the committee is looking at areas of focus for the outreach efforts. Targets for that outreach: children/ education, business opportunities, and adult use.


For timing reasons, SEC Chair, Andrea Comer suggested taking the last two committee reports and item 5 from the ED out of order and have the presentations by Rick Garza and Scheril Murray-Powell.


c.        Policy Committee                                        Edwin Shirley, Chair

d.       Workforce Committee                                   Kelli-Marie Valleries, Chair


5.      From the Executive Director                                Ginne-Rae Clay, Interim Executive Director


7. Presentation II                                                                         Rick Garza, Colorado



Rick Garza described his experience with the Recreational Marijuana Industry operationalization in Washington State. He spoke of the application process and told the Council that CT will likely get many more applications than anticipated and suggested that CT might provide good expectations to the potential applicant pool about how many licenses might be available.  He spoke of moratoria established by many areas – which left relatively few areas open to cannabis establishments.  He added that there was concern about saturation in an area.  He spoke of the success of Washington’s seven state banks/credit unions that fund and provide banking services.  He suggested making SEC plans and policies clear and to take a phased-in licensing approach to ensure a balance of supply and demand.


6. Presentation I                                                                     Scheril Murray Powell, Esq. 


 Atty. Powell spoke of evaluation criteria and presented slides regarding considerations for evaluation criteria and background check types for applicants.   A discussion ensued.


8.  Public Speaking

-          George Sutherland III spoke of his work under Peaceful Paradise LLC to be ready for a retail establishment license, creating partnerships and finding locations and developing a workforce, diversity and charitable giving plan.  He asked about license application dates and how the money will be spent. 

-          Shane Kelly spoke as a Hartford business owner who is interested in multiple licenses.



Andrea Comer – spoke to Marilyn Alverio about the naming of the Outreach Committee and suggested that it could be changed if the committee would want it changed, but it was established as the Outreach Committee.


4. & 5. Coming back to the ED report and committee reports (items 4 and 5 on the agenda).


e.       Policy Committee                                                   Edwin Shirley, Chair
Edwin Shirley reported on the work of the Policy Committee and the types of documents that the group would require for the social equity plan.  A discussion ensued.   Andrea Comer noted that the full application will be developed and posted by the Department of Consumer Protection, and the Social Equity Council will vote on the components of the addendum of requirements for Social Equity Applicants (i.e. Income Requirements, Residency Requirements). The social equity requirements will be considered and recommended by the various committees for a vote by the full council at the December meeting.  

f.         Workforce Committee                                         Kelli-Marie Vallieres, Chair

Kelli-Marie Vallieres spoke of the work from the Workforce committee and the resource of the Statewide Governor’s Workforce Council.  The Office of Workforce Strategy is the staff for that board. The group has a strategy for delivering education and training programs for industries where there are job opportunities. She explained that they are working to identify industry needs and to develop sector-based training programs. She asked about funding (and when it would be available) from SEC to get training programs up and running. A discussion ensued.


5. From the Executive Director                                     Ginne-Rae Clay, Interim Executive Director    

Ginne-Rae Clay spoke of the RFP for the study work that will be done.  She spoke of her work to add staff to the Social Equity Council with interviews being scheduled and that the first group of staff is expected to be in place by January.  She has been delivering webinars and meeting presentations to groups who have requested updates.  A media advisory was sent regarding public speaking opportunities at this and the December meeting.  A discussion ensued.


State Senator Gary Winfield gave an encouraging message to the Council and reiterated the importance of the work to bring benefits to the Disproportionately Impacted Communities.


9. For the Good of the Order – New Business, Updates and Information

  There was none.


10. Adjourn

                A motion was made by Melissa McCaw to adjourn the meeting.  Kelli Vallieres seconded the motion. Motion was approved.


Minutes are a draft until approved at a subsequent meeting


Meeting Minutes