The Connecticut Social Equity Council on Tuesday selected 16 applicants for commercial cannabis licenses, WTNH reports. The firms have not been named but the approval allows them to start large-scale cultivation operations.
Andrea Comer, Connecticut Social Equity Council chair, said the approvals “will be transformative for social equity applicants, but more importantly will bring change to communities most harmed by the war on drugs.”
Winners still have to pay a $3 million fee and pass a background check before they are given the final licenses.
An independent firm reviewed 41 applications and recommended five businesses in Hartford, three in New Britain, two each in Bridgeport and Waterbury, and one each in Middletown, Manchester, Southington, and Stamford. Comer told WTNH that the recommendations reflect businesses that can do the work, and are at least 65% owned by local people, rather than big companies.
“So, they are evaluating folks to ensure that they meet the income threshold, that they lived in the disproportionately affected area for the requisite time period, and that the business itself reflects the 65% ownership for the social equity applicant.” — Comer to WTNH
For general licenses, Connecticut received more than 37,000 applications for 56 cannabis industry licenses. The social equity applicants not selected will be moved to the general license lottery.
Connecticut legalized cannabis for adult use last year and has since banned retail gifting as the state moves forward with the application process. Future lottery rounds are expected later in the summer or early fall.
Officials have said they hope to have dispensaries up and running by the end of the year.
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