More Than 15,000 Dispensary Applications Submitted in Connecticut

Recreational cannabis sales are expected to begin in Connecticut this year, and companies are getting ready.

The state of Connecticut said last week that it received north of 15,600 applications from prospective recreational cannabis retailers, according to local news reports.

Central Maine reports that “State Department of Consumer Protection figures released Friday show that 8,357 applications were submitted before Wednesday’s deadline for the first six licenses that are reserved for social equity applicants—those located in mostly urban and low-income areas that were disproportionately impacted by the government’s war on drugs,” while the state also “received 7,245 license applications to the general lottery for adult-use cannabis retailers.”

The publication said that the “state did not set a limit on how many applications one entity could submit, but under its rules will not give more than two licenses to any one applicant.” 

“The department also received 1,896 applications to become micro-cultivators of marijuana, which will allow a licensee to grow in spaces between 2,000 and 10,000 square feet (3,048 meters). Other licenses will be available to sell medical marijuana, operate delivery services, make cannabis infused food and beverages and other cannabis products, as well as package and transport products,” Central Maine reported.

Recreational cannabis use for adults aged 21 and older has been legal in Connecticut for nearly a year now, with Democratic Governor Ned Lamont signing legislation into law last June.

“It’s fitting that the bill legalizing the adult use of cannabis and addressing the injustices caused by the war of drugs received final passage today, on the 50-year anniversary of President Nixon declaring the war. The war on cannabis, which was at its core a war on people in Black and Brown communities, not only caused injustices and increased disparities in our state, it did little to protect public health and safety,” Lamont said in a statement at the time.

“That’s why I introduced a bill and worked hard with our partners in the legislature and other stakeholders to create a comprehensive framework for a securely regulated market that prioritizes public health, public safety, social justice, and equity. It will help eliminate the dangerous unregulated market and support a new, growing sector of our economy which will create jobs,” the governor continued. 

“By allowing adults to possess cannabis, regulating its sale and content, training police officers in the latest techniques of detecting and preventing impaired driving, and expunging the criminal records of people with certain cannabis crimes, we’re not only effectively modernizing our laws and addressing inequities, we’re keeping Connecticut economically competitive with our neighboring states,” Lamont added.

But while the law took effect last summer, regulated retail sales are not expected to begin in Connecticut until later this year. 

Central Maine reported that the “first lottery for the social equity slots is expected within the next week,” with the winners undergoing “an eligibility review before the general lottery is held.”

The state began accepting social equity applications in January. 

Connecticut is one of a handful of northeastern states to legalize recreational cannabis use in recent years. The proximity to other regulated cannabis markets has caught the attention of some lawmakers in Connecticut, with members of the state House last month approving a bill that would prohibit out-of-state cannabis advertisements within its own borders.

Lawmakers were motivated to act after a number of billboards for Massachusetts cannabis retailers began to appear on the border. 

“Look, I’m sick of seeing these billboards with cannabis leaves splayed all across them, within 1,500 yards across from a school or church or whatever. Can’t we do something more about that?” said Democratic state House Representative Mike D’Agostino, as quoted by the Associated Press.

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