The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection has approved the state’s social equity rules for the cannabis industry and the agency is set to begin accepting many industry license applications next month, the Hartford Courant reports. The Social Equity Council approved a workforce development plan, proof of residency, income requirements, ownership control, and other equity-focused rules and regulations.
Ginne-Rae Clay, interim executive director of the council, called the approvals “a huge deal.”
The 56 first-round licenses will be evenly split among social equity and general licenses and are available for retailers, micro-cultivators, delivery services, food and beverage businesses, manufacturers, and transporters, the report says. Social equity license hopefuls will have a one-time 90-day application period beginning on February 3 and ending on May 4.
Under the plan, social equity applicants are defined as a business seeking a cannabis license that’s at least 65% owned and controlled by an individual or individuals who had an average household income of less than 300% of the state median household income, which was about $74,000 in 2021, over three years.
The Department of Consumer Protection will schedule several lotteries for the remaining licenses and expects a second licensing round in the second half of the year. Applicants selected for the social equity licenses are subject to review by the Social Equity Council.
In November, workforce and economic development organizations the Connecticut Community Outreach Revitalization Program (ConnCORP) and The WorkPlace announced the creation of the Alliance for Cannabis Equity (ACE), which will focus on social equity and the economic opportunities for Black and Brown entrepreneurs and minority workers throughout the state’s cannabis industry.
State lawmakers approved the reforms last year and parts of the law, including possession by adults, took effect on July 1, 2021. Officials had expected retail sales would begin sometime this year; however, in September, Commissioner for the Department of Consumer Protection Michelle Seagull has indicated the rollout could be delayed.
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