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The company of the former state senator, husband of the mayor of Stamford, is on track to obtain a marijuana equity license

STAMFORD — Art Linares, the husband of Mayor Caroline Simmons, is a financial backer at a company that may be on track to obtain a marijuana grower’s license, according to state business records.

Linares, a former Republican state senator, is listed as a director and director of Linares Faye LLC, a company associated with Connecticut Social Equity LLC, one of the state’s chosen nominees to take the next step toward l obtaining a marijuana grower’s license.

Linares, who was the youngest person ever elected to the state Senate in 2012, and Simmons, a former Democratic state representative from Stamford, wed in 2017.

Competition has been fierce for marijuana licenses — grower, retailer, manufacturer, delivery service and others — as the state expands the market from medical to recreational use.

The Department of Consumer Protection announced this week that it has advanced 16 of 41 cultivator license applications, eligible under the state’s social equity guidelines.

Linares’ Connecticut Social Equity LLC was one.

The company is part of a complex partnership, according to the National Business Register.

It shows that a company with the same name, Connecticut Social Equity Holdings LLC, is one of the principals of Connecticut Social Equity LLC.

The holding company, in turn, has two directors – Linares Faye LLC and Van Scoy LLC.

Linares Faye LLC has three directors. One is Art Linares, listed under the address of the $2.3 million home he and Simmons bought in the Shippan area of ​​Stamford’s waterfront in February.

Another director of Linares Faye LLC is Brian Faye of Southington. Third is Luis Arturo Linares from Essex.

With the retail sale of recreational marijuana expected to begin later this year, state lawmakers have enacted regulations designed to provide business opportunities to those disproportionately affected by the age-old drug war. fifty years.

The purpose of the “social equity” regulations is to help people in these communities have fair access to what is expected to become a lucrative marijuana industry in Connecticut.

The state identified the communities, called disproportionately affected areas, based on historical drug-related conviction and unemployment rates. Most areas are located in or near urban centers.

To meet the social equity criteria, an applicant must have lived in a disproportionately affected area for at least five of the 10 years immediately before applying for the license, or nine years before turning 18, Kristina Diamond said. , communications manager for Connecticut Social Equity. Advice.

The applicant must have an average household income less than 300% of the state’s median income for the three tax years immediately preceding the application, Diamond said.

The social equity nominee can have backers, but must own and control at least a 65% interest in the marijuana business, Diamond said.

Backers don’t have to meet social equity criteria — they simply can’t own or control more than 35% of the business, according to regulations.

In the Connecticut Social Equity Holdings LLC proposal, Van Scoy LLC is the social equity partner. According to the state business registry, the director of this company is Steven Van Scoy of East Haven.

A phone message left with Van Scoy on Friday was not returned, but Faye, who like Linares is Linares Faye’s manager and manager, said Van Scoy played that role in their marijuana business venture.

Faye, owner of New England Home Mortgage in Southington, said he was one of the backers.

He and Art Linares are good friends, Faye said.

“We talked about opening a cannabis business,” he said.

Linares responded via email from a spokeswoman, Carter Johnson.

According to the email provided by Johnson, Van Scoy is president of Connecticut Social Equity LLC and owns and controls 65% of it, as required by law.

Linares “is a financial backer of the company, which, as defined in state law, means he indirectly owns more than 5% of the company. Art and two other partners represent the 35% of remaining property,” the email read.

Van Scoy has lived for five of the past 10 years in a disproportionately affected area of ​​Connecticut, and his residency and income qualify him as an eligible Social Equity participant, which the Social Equity Council has verified, the e says. -mail.

If granted a license, Connecticut Social Equity LLC will place its marijuana grow operation in a disproportionate impact zone as required by law, according to Linares’ email response. The business will not be in Stamford, where his wife is mayor, he said.

Department of Consumer Protection Deputy Commissioner Andrea Comer, who chairs the Council for Social Equity, said in an email that license applications are diligently reviewed by a company, CohnReznick, hired “to ensure that the ownership structure of companies “applying for licenses adheres” to the social equity goals that the governor and legislature intended.”

The company’s diligence “is reflected in the ratio of applicants approved versus rejected,” Comer said. “Our goal has been, and continues to be, to protect candidates from predatory structures and to affirm the impact of the war on drugs.”

The 16 candidates who got preliminary approval must now go through background checks. Provisional licenses will be granted once verifications have been completed and applicants have paid their fees. After that, they can start setting up their business and apply for a permanent license.