Connecticut Cannabis Business Licenses
WHAT IS CONNECTICUT'S CURRENT CANNABIS MARKET STATUS?
CONTENT BELOW LAST UPDATED BY POINT7 03/30/2022
Connecticut’s adult-use legalization is currently underway as applicants work to prepare their applications to submit to the Department of Consumer Protection. Meanwhile, Connecticut’s medical cannabis program has 14 operating dispensaries, four operating producers, and 41,391 registered patients.
In June 2021, after five years of effort, Connecticut lawmakers reached an agreement to legalize cannabis for adult-use, which Governor Ned Lamont planned to sign if passed by the legislature. The legislation intended to legalize personal possession and use of cannabis by adults, and eventually delineate regulations for the Connecticut commercial cannabis market, including licensing growers, retailers, manufacturers, and delivery services. The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) was designated to manage licensing and regulating cannabis businesses, and sales were projected to begin in December 2022.
After years of efforts, Governor Ned Lamont (D) signed Senate Bill 1201 into law, legalizing cannabis for adult-use in the State of Connecticut.. Possession of cannabis among adults age 21 and older became legal in the state effective July 1, 2021. Possession is capped at 1.5 ounces of cannabis per person with no more than .5 ounces in a person’s homes or in a locked car. Retail sales of recreational cannabis are projected to begin by December 2022. The sale, manufacturing, and cultivation of cannabis requires a license issued by the State. Prior cannabis convictions between January 2000 and October 1, 2015, will be automatically erased; all other convictions will require petitioning. The legislation also contains additional comprehensive reforms, including equity, criminal justice, public health and safety.
WHAT ARE CONNECTICUT'S CANNABIS LAWS?
On June 1, 2012 Public Act 12-55 was signed into law by Governor Malloy, allowing registered patients with qualifying debilitating medical conditions the opportunity to purchase and possess medical cannabis with the written certification from a physician. However, unlike other states allowing medical cannabis, the law did not allow patients the right to grow the plant within the privacy of their homes. Under Public Act 12-55, the State permitted ten medical cannabis dispensaries, all of which are currently in operation. A patient or caregiver may possess the amount deemed necessary by a physician to meet a one-month supply for the patient. Connecticut's current cannabis laws can be found here.
After five years of efforts, Connecticut lawmakers have reached a wide-ranging compromise on the legalization of recreational cannabis. Under the newly signed legislation, SB 1201, the possession of cannabis by adults aged 21 and older became legal on July 1, 2022. The sale, manufacture, and cultivation of cannabis will require a license. The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) will issue growers, retailers, manufacturers, and delivery services licenses. Social equity applicants will be entitled to 50% of each license type. Commercial cannabis sales are projected to begin in May 2022, but the bill does not specify an exact date. Additionally, under this bill, social equity applicants will have early access to obtain licenses to become retailers, cultivators, micro-cultivators, and other positions created in the newly legal market.
WHAT IS CONNECTICUT'S CANNABIS LICENSING TIMELINE & CANNABIS APPLICATION PROCESS?
As of March 24th, 2022, a 90-day application window has begun for each license type. The Department of Consumer Protection has announced these initial application windows will be followed by more opportunities in the future with each round’s announcement of the number of licenses to be awarded. Following is a schedule of the current application windows.
- Disproportionately Impacted Area Cultivator: February 3, 2022 (non-lottery) (No Cap)
- Retailer: February 3, 2022 (6 Social Equity, 6 General)
- Micro-cultivator: February 10, 2022 (2 Social Equity, 2 General)
- Delivery Service: February 17, 2022 (5 Social Equity, 5 General)
- Hybrid Retailer: February 24, 2022 (2 Social Equity, 2 General)
- Food and Beverage: March 3, 2022 (5 Social Equity, 5 General)
- Product Manufacturer: March 10, 2022 (3 Social Equity, 3 General)
- Product Packager: March 17, 2022 (3 Social Equity, 3 General)
- Transporter: March 24, 2022 (2 Social Equity, 2 General)
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF CANNABIS IN CONNECTICUT?
In June 2011, after a close vote in the Senate and a 90-57 vote in the House, Governor Malloy signed legislation decriminalizing cannabis possession. Governor Malloy clearly stated his advocacy for the legalization of cannabis when he stated, “Let me make it clear - we are legalizing the use of cannabis. There is no question the state’s criminal justice resources could be more effectively utilized for convicting, incarcerating, and supervising violent and more serious offenders.” Although recreational cannabis is decriminalized, possession offenses are subject to fines ranging from $150-500 for under one-half ounce, and up to $2,000 and a possible one-year jail sentence for possession of more than one-half ounce.
One year after decriminalization, Governor Malloy signed into law HB5389, legalizing medical cannabis in Connecticut. Afterwhich, Chapter 120f, An Act Concerning the Palliative Use of Marijuana, was added to the Connecticut General Statutes. This initiative made the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) the State’s regulatory body for medical cannabis. Under this law, a patient may possess up to two and one-half ounces, or 56.7 grams per month unless a physician recommends a lesser amount.. Prohibited under HB 5389 is the ability to grow in-home plants.
DOES CONNECTICUT HAVE A HEMP PROGRAM?
Connecticut hemp cultivation and processing is legal with a valid growers license from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture. For more information about the hemp application, check the On-Line Application at this link.
PREPARING FOR THE CONNECTICUT CANNABIS MARKET
We are ready to support your team as you prepare for cannabis licensure in Connecticut. Application details can be found here. Contact Point7 to discuss the fully customizable products and service packages available that have proved successful for operators around the country..