37,293 business hopefuls compete for 56 licenses

More than 37,000 applications for 56 cannabis business licenses in Connecticut were submitted before the final deadline passed last week, with most seeking to do business in underrepresented communities.

The state Department of Consumer Protection received 13,806 applications for the General Lottery and 23,487 for the Social Equity License established by the General Assembly for communities hardest hit by the government’s war on drugs. . Among eight categories, retail operations attracted the most applications, with 15,606.

Several other categories include food and beverage manufacturers, growers, and delivery services. The final 90-day deadline passed on Wednesday.

“I think that’s a higher number than most people expected,” said Sarah Westby, co-chair of the Cannabis team at law firm Shipman & Goodwin and a member of its practice group. employment and work.

Observers of Connecticut’s developing cannabis industry expect large operators to submit applications in multiple categories, she said. Future lottery rounds could take place in the summer or early fall, Westby said.

The 56 available licenses are divided evenly between general licenses and those for social equity enterprises. Twelve will be available to retailers; four for micro-growers and retailers of hybrids (adult and medical use), 10 for delivery services and food and beverage companies, six for packers and manufacturers, and four for carriers.

Michelle Bodian, an attorney at the cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg, said the state paid nearly $1 million in application fees in the first round of the lottery. Although Connecticut’s fees are among the cheapest among states with cannabis businesses, ranging from $128 to $750, other states rely on merit-based applications rather than a lottery, a- she declared.

Cannabis industry lawyers helped clients with a “burst of activity filling out applications and complying with regulatory aspects” early in the process, Westby said. “Now existing medical dispensaries are putting the pieces in place and most others are waiting to see how the lottery works.”

Medical marijuana became legal in Connecticut in 2012 and last year it became the 19th state to legalize cannabis for adult use. As of July 1, 2021, adults 21 or older can buy and possess up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana, or up to 5 ounces locked away at home or in the glove box or trunk of a vehicle .

The Social Equity Council is due to meet on July 12 to begin triaging cannabis applications. Those who are not selected will be transferred to the general lottery.

Stephen Singer can be reached at [email protected]

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