The competition to win one of 12 adult-use cannabis retail licenses in Connecticut is fierce, but some applicants have greater odds than others for an upcoming lottery.
Overall, there were 8,357 applications submitted for the first six social equity licenses ahead of the May 4 deadline, and there were another 7,245 license applications submitted for the first six general licenses, according to figures released by the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP).
While there’s less than a 1-in-1,000 chance for each application in a lottery expected to take place this week, not all applicants have the same odds of winning, CT News Junkie reported.
“They can apply as much as they want, but they have to pay a fee every time,” DCP Communications Director Kaitlyn Krasselt told the news outlet.
The nonrefundable application fees were $500 for general retail licenses and $250 for social equity retail licenses, according to DCP. Social equity applications not selected in the social equity lottery will be added to the general lottery, Krasselt said.
While the social equity licenses are reserved, in part, for those who had an average household income of less than three times the state median household income over the last three tax years, Connecticut’s application system favors those who can afford to pay for multiple applications.
In addition to income requirements, to qualify as a social equity applicant, the individual who is applying for the cannabis establishment license must own or control at least 65% of the business and must have resided in a disproportionately impacted area for at least five of the past 10 years or at least nine years before the age of 18.
After the lottery process, DCP officials will conduct a more thorough vetting process before issuing the licenses to the winners, department Deputy Commissioner Andréa Comer said in a January press release outlining the details.
“Reviewing and vetting applications once they’ve been randomly selected through the lottery process will be a huge task for both DCP and the Social Equity Council,” Comer said. “Establishing the number of licenses that will be available in the first application round is an important step in ensuring the council, as well as DCP, can fairly and thoroughly review each application and issue licenses in a timely manner.”
The initial number of licenses is not a cap but rather a starting point for opening the adult-use market in an “effective, measured and thoughtful way,” DCP Commissioner Michelle Seagull said in the release.
The department will hold multiple lotteries on an ongoing basis with department officials announcing the number of available licenses before each application round. The next round of retail licenses could come as soon as this summer, according to DCP.
Meanwhile, the application process is still open for the first round of four micro-cultivator, 10 delivery service, four hybrid retailer, 10 food and beverage, six product packager, six product manufacturer and four transporter licenses. Each license type offers an equal number of social equity and general licenses and includes a 90-day application period.
The DCP has received 1,316 applications for the two social equity micro-cultivator licenses and 580 applications for the two general micro-cultivator licenses, with that application period ending May 11.
The state’s licensed micro-cultivators will be allowed to grow cannabis in spaces between 2,000 and 10,000 square feet, according to state law.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed adult-use cannabis legalization on June 22, 2021. The legislation allowed adults 21 and older to possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis flower or an equivalent amount of concentrate in public, and up to 5 ounces in their homes, beginning July 1.
The state’s adult-use retail program’s launch date has yet to be established, but commercial sales aren’t expected until the end of 2022, according to DCP.