The Nutmeg State is establishing its footing in the adult-use cannabis industry and may soon earn itself association with a completely different kind of seed. Projected sales show about $160.3 million by 2025 and $750 million by 2027. While legislative members and other entities establish guidelines, run lotteries and handle details of a completely legalized marketplace, the necessary information on how to start a cannabis business in Connecticut is not always clear. Keep reading to learn more about the Connecticut cannabis business license process, application requirements and latest updates.
Recreational cannabis was originally legalized with the intent to regulate in the state on July 1, 2021, and the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) became responsible for business licensing and regulation. The DCP then announced regulations for recreational cannabis, with an effective date of Oct. 16, 2021. These regulations define parameters for business owners, and include precedent-typical items such as child safety, product quality and prevention of product deviation. In February 2022, the DCP began accepting Connecticut cannabis applications for certain adult-use cannabis business licenses. On July 12, a state panel began the process of issuing the first cannabis cultivator licenses by accepting 16 applications as having satisfied social equity standards.
Connecticut cannabis applications
Connecticut announced Sept. 22 the six cannabis retailers who had met the requirements for social equity status and, pending additional approval and payment of license costs, will be among the first to sell adult-use recreational cannabis in the state. Two micro-cultivator applicants were selected as well as having received equity status to advance in the licensing procedure. A little over a month later, the DCP began evaluations for the cannabis product manufacturer and transporter license categories chosen via the Social Equity Lottery. Connecticut is unique in that it provides financial incentives for medical cannabis business owners to partner with new small or minority-owned businesses to provide assistance over a specified timeframe.
Associated costs for Connecticut cannabis license fees include both non-social equity categories, and social equity or general categories. For example, non-social equity cultivator applications can expect to pay Lottery $1,000, Provisional $25,000, License $75,000, while social equity cultivators will pay Lottery $500, Provisional $12,500, License $37,500. Fees are the beginning of the process. There are also grow space minimums. Cultivators must utilize at least 15,000 square feet of grow space, while micro-cultivator must utilize 2,000 and 10,000 square feet of grow space.
How to start a cannabis business in Connecticut
Knowing the Connecticut cannabis license types and the state requirements are only two steps on the path to success. Education and preparation are key, as the industry and state rules continuously change. Writing and executing a comprehensive business plan will put this information into a format that makes sense to you, as well as financial backers. This plan should also include budget projections and licensing timelines.
Those in the state who were within municipalities who prohibited sales of recreational cannabis may have received good news in the recent midterm elections. Ledyard passed the referendum by nearly 300 votes, and Waterbury voters approved it by about 400 votes. Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary says it was close, but voters have spoken. “We will work very closely with Planning and Zoning to make sure that wherever the facility is located, it will not impede the central business district and things like that,” O’Leary said. Connecticut’s first recreational cannabis retail shop is loosely planned for opening early in 2023.
Connecticut cannabis business license seekers
One group gearing for a Connecticut cannabis business license are hemp farmers. With the state’s hemp industry profit dropping more each week, coupled with the ability of hemp growers to convert to cannabis cultivation in one day, hemp farmers are gunning for an advantage. Rep. Michael D’Agostino, D-Hamden, chairman of the legislature’s General Law Committee which oversees the regulation of the cannabis industry, said “I think it’s an important discussion for us to have,” he said. ”The threshold question is how much supply [of cannabis] do we need? Maybe we’ll need double what we have… We need to get the market going.”
D’Agostino said the industry’s “unique role” in its ability to produce cannabis should be recognized. “The question is, ‘How can we fit the hemp farms into the system?’” he mused. Hemp, used in both CBD and cannabis, differ only in their psychoactive component or amount of THC.
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