MANCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut’s first social equity joint venture cannabis store opened its doors Friday morning in Manchester.
The social equity opportunities hope to benefit communities that were disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.
In this case, that’s Kennard Ray, who was first arrested at the age of 16.
“I’m from Hartford — 06120,” he said. “We are statistically the fourth-poorest zip code in the nation.”
Ray served several years in prison on gun and drug charges, now Manchester Mayor Jay Moran (D) is helping him celebrate his own Fine Fettle location.
“I think we’re in a society now where we should give people second chances and I think it’s an opportunity for people to have some employment, open up a small business,” Moran said.
The Fine Fettle was busy right from the first moment.
“It’s going to save a lot of time and energy, because we used to go to Springfield, Massachusetts, but the drive is horrendous and this makes it so much easier,” said Renee Tinney, a customer from Vernon.
The location is a chance to turn what had once been considered a crime into an opportunity to build generational wealth.
“Us working to build this up is an example for anybody sitting and watching in my community and communities like it that this can happen,” Ray said.
Recreational cannabis sales began in Connecticut earlier this year, and the state has wiped tens of thousands of low-level marijuana convictions from criminal records.