Connecticut Application Services
Connecticut Cannabis Licensure and Implications of the New Regulations
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.
- Adults 21 and older may possess up to 1.5 ounces. Minors will be subject to a civil fine and community service.
- Home cultivation will be permitted, first for medical patients, then adult-use consumers.
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 towards 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 significant tax revenue from cannabis sales to go toward broader community reinvestment, targeting areas most affected by the criminal drug war.
The state can also enter into cannabis-related agreements with tribal governments, such as the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe of Indians.
It’s extremely important to not sell or cater to anyone under 21. Cannabis advertisements are not allowed to be targeted at minors. Licensees who sell to minors will be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison and a $2,000 fine. This is the same for homeowners, parents, and adults of any kind; if a minor in your house possesses cannabis, as the homeowner, you would be subject to a Class A misdemeanor.
There are limitations about which cannabis businesses will need to know. Until June 30, 2024, the number of licensed cannabis retailers can not exceed one per 25,000 residents. State regulators will set a new maximum after that. The amount of THC will also be capped at 30% for bud and 60% for all other products (except pre-filled vape cartridges). Medical marijuana is exempt from the potency caps. Additionally, all retailers need to provide access to low-THC and high-CBD products.