Connecticut expected to accept marijuana retail applications by next month
Connecticut green lit the state's new retail marijuana industry on Tuesday.
As early as late January, residents could be able to apply to grow or sell cannabis in Connecticut. On Tuesday, the state Social Equity Council conditionally approved new rules. The timeline is dependent on final approval, which is expected soon.
Applicants will have 90 days to get paperwork in, pending approval from the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection. The window was originally 60 days, but council members feared that's not enough time. They also want new applicants to have more guidance.
After the 90-day window, winners will be picked through a lottery.
Social equity applicants from Disproportionately Impacted Areas, like Norwalk's Ely Avenue, get priority - and a discount. But critics say that's not enough.
"There's plenty of white people who live in DIAs who didn't have the same experience I did," said Andrew Allen, of Bridgeport. Allen suggested limiting social equity licenses to people of color initially.
Social equity applicants have to prove they aren't a front for wealthy backers. The state wants tax returns and financial histories for investors, as well as loan and shareholder agreements. Applicants will also have to submit detailed social equity and hiring plans.
"The license fee is just too high for people who are trying to get, you know, regular people who are trying to get in the market who have non-corporate interests," said Olivia Rinkes, of North Stonington.
The state Social Equity Council is pledging to help applicants with startup costs. But is the process too confusing?
"Knowledge is power. And it is essential that we articulate and communicate to would-be applicants what will be required," said Christine Shaw, Social Equity Council member.
Click here to read the social equity application rules.