Connecticut has officially joined the cannabis industry and is accepting applications for entrepreneurs hoping to enter the adult-use market. The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) has decided to hold multiple, ongoing lotteries for each round of cannabis business license applications. In fact, they will hold two lotteries per license type, one for social equity, and another general lottery.
Similar to other states, local governments are allowed to prohibit cannabis businesses in their city or town.
Before we take a deeper look at commercial licensing, it’s important to understand the laws for adult recreational marijuana usage.
Additionally, most criminal convictions for possession of fewer than four ounces of cannabis would be expunged at the beginning of 2023. Individuals will be invited, starting July 2022, to petition to have other cannabis convictions erased.
The government isn’t just “forgiving” past possession charges, they’re also preventing discrimination from someone who used cannabis in the past. When cannabis is consumed, it leaves metabolites in the body, which can be detected in the blood, hair, and urine up to 90 days after consumption.
With these new laws, employers would no longer be able to take adverse actions against staff who tested positive for cannabis metabolites. Similarly, rental tenants, post-secondary students, and others can no longer be discriminated against for testing positive for metabolites. Even better, the presence of cannabis metabolites is no longer a legal reason to deny patients organ transplants or other medical care.
Both general and social equity applications for licensing will be subject to high standards to meet approval. Equity applicants may qualify for technical assistance, as well as workforce training and funding to cover startup costs.
Licensing fees for social equity applicants will cost half of the open licensing fees. All applicants will need to pay a small fee to enter the lottery, then a larger fee if granted a license. CT social equity licenses would also receive a 50% discount on fees for the first three years of renewals.
It’s clear the DCP is using drug reform and the cannabis industry to better the state of Connecticut. The social equity assistance is nice to see. The state has also committed a significant amount of tax revenue from cannabis sales to go toward broader community reinvestment, targeting areas most affected by the criminal drug war.
The state is also able to enter into cannabis-related agreements with tribal governments, such as the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe of Indians.
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