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Connecticut cannabis retail license applications surpass 15,000

Connecticut cannabis retail license applications surpass 15,000

Connecticut cannabis retail license applications

Over 15,000 thousand people submitted applications for Connecticut cannabis cultivation licenses before the deadline this week. However the state is only handing out about a dozen licenses to start.

The state reported on Friday that they received over 8,000 applications just for the six social equity licenses they will be handing out. Additionally the state received another 7,000 applications for the general lottery.

The general lottery pool will reward adult-use Connecticut cannabis retail licenses.

The first lottery for social equity applicants seeking Connecticut cannabis retail licenses is expected to happen this week. After being chosen, the applicants will still need to be reviewed for eligibility before the general lottery can proceed.

There was no limit placed on how many applications one person could submit, making it likely that multiple applications were submitted on behalf of one individual. The large number of applications for so few licenses could be explained in part by this factor.

An additional 1,800 applications were submitted for micro-cultivator licenses. This license allows a licensee to grow in spaces between 2,000 and 10,000 square feet (3,048 meters). Other Connecticut cannabis retail 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.

Connecticut legalized adult-use cannabis last July. The law allows residents over the age of 21 to legally possess up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana, or up to 5 ounces locked at home or in a vehicle’s glove box or trunk.

But retail recreational cannabis stores are not expected to begin operating in the state until late this year at the earliest.

Connecticut cannabis gifting law pushed forward by lawmakers

Connecticut cannabis gifting law pushed forward by lawmakers

Connecticut cannabis gifting could be banned

The underground Connecticut cannabis gifting community could be in for some trouble is legislators in the state get their way.

In a 98-48 vote, the Connecticut House of Representatives pushed forward legislation that would fine anybody who host a cannabis gifting event up to thousands of dollars. During the session, others argued that legalizing cannabis in Connecticut at all was a mistake that should be reverted.

Suffice to say there is disagreement in the legislature about the future of the industry in Connecticut, and it is going to have an impact on the industry there.

As it currently stands, cannabis is legal to possess for adults in Connecticut. However recreational cultivation for personal use won’t be an option until July 2023, and there is no regulated industry to speak of in the state.

In other words, cannabis is legal. It just can’t be grown recreationally or bought anywhere unless you’re a licensed medical cannabis patient. This has predictably created an underground market for those looking to obtain cannabis for personal consumption without a medical card.

What is cannabis gifting?

Cannabis gifting is by no means a new practice. It also isn’t exclusive to just Connecticut.

For example Washington D.C. legalized cannabis in 2015, but still doesn’t have a regulated industry due to barriers put in place by politicians during the legislative process. Now there is a thriving cannabis gifting industry in DC, with small shops tucked away across the city. There you can pay $45 for a sticker and receive an eighth of cannabis as a “gift”.

The donation/gifting method acts as a loophole under most cannabis laws that prohibit the illicit sale of cannabis outside of a licenses retailer. By gifting cannabis instead, it technically isn’t being sold and can’t be prosecuted.

It isn’t difficult to see why politicians would not be in favor of such a practice.

But with the current laws and delays in Connecticut, it was inevitable.

Some legislators are shaping the new bill not as a total restriction on cannabis gifting, but just organized events according to Democrat Rep. Michael D’Agostino.

“For right now, these bazaars are a way around the regulated marketplace,” D’Agostino said. As co-chairman of the legislative General Law Committee, he stressed that the bill would not prohibit true gifting events in which friends or acquaintances exchange or give each other cannabis without commercial transactions.

The legislation was originally proposed in response to events like the High Bazaar. There more than 1,000 visitors paid $20 or so to enter a warehouse in an industrial zone, where dozens of vendor tables would display cannabis in various forms, exchanging cash or other items of value for cannabis products.

Under the bill, those who sponsor these large gifting parties could be fined $1,000 by the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, and as much as $1,000 by local officials. The legislation isn’t entirely bad however.

The legislation also includes provisions to end the annual fees required of patients in the medical-marijuana program, saving patients about $5 million a year starting July 1, 2023. It would also permit physicians to write medical cannabis prescriptions, which would save patients more money and time.

The law also includes provisions strictly limited billboard advertising for cannabis companies, and completely bans it for out of state brands. Lastly, current cannabis cultivators would be allowed to undertake two more joint ventures, and towns and cities that are willing to host cannabis businesses, can now decide which businesses and how many could locate to their area.

Overall the legislation would appear to have more good than bad, with the main negative being the impacts on large cannabis gifting events. Small gathering of friends gifting each other cannabis products will still be allowed without repercussion. Medical cannabis patients will have quicker and more affordable access to their medicine, and in-state retailers will no longer have to worry about out of state competition.

Connecticut tries to crack down on cannabis gifting

Connecticut tries to crack down on cannabis gifting

cannabis gifting to be banned in Connecticut

Hundreds of shoppers filtered through rows of vendors selling novelty art and clothing earlier this year at High Bazaar, a Hamden festival where a “gift” of a marijuana product often accompanied the items they purchased.

But the High Bazaar parties are on hold for now, after the town of Hamden claimed permitting violations. And while a hearing in that civil case is scheduled for later this week, the state legislature is considering a bill that would outlaw such “gifting.”

House Bill 5329 would impose up to a $10,000 fine and a year of jail time on violators. Supporters of the legislation said it would help keep sales in the market regulated, although some hemp and cannabis advocates were wary that it would re-criminalize marijuana.

The bill also includes provisions to cap the number of equity joint ventures for producers and to outlaw billboard advertising. Equity joint ventures allow partnerships between social equity applicants and other cannabis businesses.

“We appreciate that gifting will go on between people in the privacy of their homes,” said Rep. Mike D’Agostino, a Democrat who represents Hamden. “An event that’s organized, that rents space and is really a market just violates the entire intent of the statute that we put in place last year.”

D’Agostino chairs the General Law Committee, which heard public comments on the bill Tuesday.

Cannabis gifting is a practice that’s been used in Washington, D.C., where recreational marijuana sales aren’t allowed but possession of less than 2 ounces has been decriminalized. Vendors sell consumers a product such as a T-shirt, and a cannabis product is included as a gift.

Connecticut cannabis business applications now open

Connecticut’s first application window for businesses aiming to participate in the recreational cannabis market opened Thursday.

An educational webinar for businesses, the first of several planned as part of technical assistance aimed at helping social equity applicants, also streamed Thursday.

Non-lottery applications for cultivators in disproportionately impacted areas and lottery applications for recreational retailers are available.

Medical producers and dispensaries will also be allowed to convert to expanded licenses that allow them to participate in the medical and recreational markets. Applications for expanded producers and hybrid retailers are open.

Equity joint venture applications are also open. Equity joint ventures allow business entities to partner with applicants who meet certain social equity criteria.

Social equity status is determined by income and residency. The Social Equity Council, which is organizing technical assistance to aid businesses through the application process, is charged with ensuring the market benefits those who have been most impacted by the war on drugs.

All members of a household, regardless of relationship, will need to submit information on income for social equity applicants to meet the criteria, said Ginne-Rae Clay, interim director for the council.

This includes roommates, Clay said.

Half of all lottery licenses will go to social equity applicants. Application windows for more license types are set to open on a rolling basis over the next couple of months.

The state anticipates another lottery round in the second half of the year. Businesses that wish to participate will have to reapply for that round if they’re not selected in the first round, according to a state Department of Consumer Protection press release.

Everything to know about Connecticut cannabis license options

Everything to know about Connecticut cannabis license options

Connecticut cannabis license types

After a meeting of the Connecticut Social Equity Council (SEC) in the first week of January, regulators have announced that the Connecticut cannabis license process will begin in February.

The legislation which legalized cannabis in the state has a condition in its copy that the Connecticut cannabis license process could not start until the SEC approved a technical assistance plan for the cannabis industry. The approved plan will include outreach and providing resources to people interested in participating in the legal cannabis market.

Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) announced on Twitter that they will begin accepting applications for certain adult-use cannabis establishment licenses in 30 days. The DCP also will announce the specific number of Connecticut cannabis licenses will be available for each establishment type.

Each cannabis license type will be released for applicants at different times. This time frame is planned for February to the final week of March, and will operate under two lottery systems.

The first lottery will be specifically for social equity applicants, who will have first access to applications on February 3rd. To be a social equity applicant there must be at least 65% ownership or control of the business by individuals who “meet the income and residency requirements for a social equity applicant outlined in the law,” DCP said in a press release.

Individuals who fall under the “Disproportionately Impacted Areas” category have the option to pay $3 million and skip the lottery system altogether.

The other Connecticut cannabis license lottery is for general applicants. These license types include retailers, micro-cultivators, delivery services, transporters and more. From February 3 to March 24 there will be a 90-day application period with each license being released at a different period throughout the process.

Connecticut cannabis license types and application dates

The DCP released every Connecticut cannabis license type and how many applications will be available for the general and social equity lotteries. Here are the various types and how many licenses will be released.

Disproportionately Impacted Area Cultivator: February 3, 2022 (non-lottery)

 

Retailer: February 3

6 general licenses, 6 social equity licenses

Micro-cultivator: February 10

2 general licenses, 5 social equity licenses

Delivery Service: February 17

5 general licenses, 5 social equity licenses

Hybrid Retailer: February 24

2 general licenses, 2 social equity licenses

Food and Beverage: March 3

5 general licenses, 5 social equity licenses

Product Manufacturer: March 10

3 general licenses, 3 social equity licenses

Product Packager: March 17

3 general licenses, 3 social equity licenses

Transporter: March 24

2 general licenses, 2 social equity licenses

In a DCP press release, Commissioner Michelle Seagull said, “This work by the Social Equity Council is a critical step in the licensure process for the emerging Adult-Use cannabis market in Connecticut and will be instrumental in ensuring the equity goals established in the law are met.”

Seagull explained that the initial number of available Connecticut cannabis licenses is not meant to be a cap, but,”a starting point for opening the adult-use cannabis market in an effective, measured and thoughtful way,” she said.