Disproportionately Impacted Areas

Identified for Public Act 21-1, An Act Concerning Responsible and Equitable Regulation of Adult-Use Cannabis
Public Act 21-1, An Act Concerning Responsible and Equitable Regulation of Adult-Use Cannabis, legalized the adult use of cannabis in Connecticut. The bill established a Social Equity Council, which will promote and encourage the full participation in the cannabis industry by people from communities disproportionately harmed by cannabis prohibition. The bill targets its equity measures at "disproportionately impacted areas" (or DIAs), census tracts in the state that have either a historical conviction rate for drug-related offenses greater than one-tenth, or an unemployment rate greater than ten percent, as determined annually by the Social Equity Council. 
Based on these clear statutory criteria, a list of census tracts for identification as disproportionately impacted areas has been identified by an interagency team. The recommended tracts have been published on the Connecticut Open Data Portal here. The map below displays the recommended disproportionately impacted areas.
This list of disproportionately impacted areas was approved by the Social Equity Council on August 5, 2021.

Disproportionately Impacted Areas

How were the disproportionately impacted areas identified? 

As described above, Public Act 21-1 defines "disproportionately impacted areas" as a census tract in the state that has either a historical conviction rate for drug-related offenses greater than one-tenth, or an unemployment rate greater than ten percent, as determined by the Social Equity Council. 
To identify these census tracts, arrest and conviction records from the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) were geocoded to calculate the count of cannabis-related convictions in Connecticut from 1982-2020 by census tract. Geocoding refers to a process for converting street addresses into spatial data (latitude and longitude) that can be displayed as features on a map. 
The address records from DESPP were cleaned and then geocoded by DESPP, using the same system that is used for 9-1-1 administration. The geocoded address points were then assigned to census tracts using the TIGER/LINE shapefile from the U.S. Census Bureau that defines Connecticut census tracts. Because of disparate geocoding performance by town, non-geocoded records were allocated proportionately across census tracts in the town in which they were located to ensure that tracts in towns with worse data quality were not penalized. The conviction rates for each tract were then calculated using the 5-year estimated population from the 2019 American Community Survey (ACS), a product of the Census Bureau. The 5-year estimate of the unemployment rate from the 2019 ACS was used to determine the unemployment rate for each tract. Census tracts with a conviction rate greater than 0.1 or an unemployment rate greater than 10% were marked as disproportionately impacted areas. 
A more detailed technical memo describing the geocoding process is available here.

More information

For more information about adult-use cannabis in Connecticut, visit ct.gov/cannabis