CT Cannabis Entrepreneurs Can Start Applying For Adult Use Industry Licenses This Week

The first application period for adult-use cannabis store licenses goes live this week via a Connecticut state website. The state Department of Consumer Protection will begin accepting applications from growers in disproportionately affected areas — and those hoping to open cannabis stores.

Qualified retailer applications will enter a lottery system to then apply for a provisional license. In the first round, the state will award a dozen licenses: six for general retailers and six for applicants from communities most affected by the war on drugs.

But what the application review process will look like is still unknown.

At its monthly full meeting, the state Social Equity Council voted to hire a third-party company to outline the candidate review and vetting process.

Hoping to take some of the weight off the board members’ shoulders, some members thought it was the best decision to keep the board out of the initial review process.

“There are a lot of conflict of interest issues in this situation. And on top of that, if we were reviewing applicants, we’re concerned that every board member would have to review every application to make sure there’s a process just and fair,” said Ojala Naeem, Board Member and Chair of the Governance Council.

By delegating this task, Naeem said the council could speed up the process – which is already delayed as a flood of applications is expected within days.

The third-party company would be hired with an initial budget of $125,000 and once the process is approved by the board, they would then weed out candidates who don’t qualify.

“I intend for this third party to review and verify income, residency, ownership and control based on criteria established by the board. Once they have verified, the application is either qualified or disqualified. Those who qualified would then return to [Department of Consumer Protection] to possibly get a provisional license,” said Ginne-Rae Clay, acting executive director.

The application period will last 90 days. So, for those who start applying on February 3, their applications must be submitted by May 4. The board hopes to have the review process up and running by March.

Applicants from disproportionately affected areas or census tracts in the state who have: a historical conviction rate for drug offenses greater than one-tenth or unemployment greater than 10% are not subject to a lottery.

Those interested in applying can find more information at ct.gov/cannabis

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