(WTNH) – Connecticut’s first application window for recreational cannabis businesses will come to an end on Wednesday night. The deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday and it comes as social equity applicants express concerns about fairness after hearing about well-established marijuana companies coming from out of state to set up shop.
Thousands of applicants are in, but only 12 retail adult-use cannabis licenses will be selected in the first round of the state lottery. The 12 will be split evenly between general and social equity applicants. It’s tough odds for any business owners looking to break into the industry.
“We’re probably looking at 6,000 applications total,” said Andrea Comer, co-chair of the Social Equity Council and Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Protection.
The 6,000 applications don’t reflect the total number of businesses. Comer says applicants with more investor capital are submitting more applicants and that could tip the odds in their favor.
As the lottery looks to even the playing field for aspiring businesses in disproportionately affected communities, a Colorado-based cannabis business called 1906 reportedly has secured the first investment from a state venture fund, Connecticut Innovations. It’s estimated to be $1.25 million.
“I will say, it’s disheartening from where I stand since there are so many social equity applicant folks who have come from these communities. I don’t know why that investment choice was made,” Comer said.
“Invest in your residents, invest in your people, the communities ravaged by the war on drugs,” said Tiana Hercules, social equity applicant in Hartford.
As a criminal defense attorney, Tiana Hercules seeks to rewrite the injustices of the past. If she gets selected, her plan is to open an adult-use cannabis dispensary in downtown Hartford.
“I’m going to hire people from my community, continue to bring Lady Jane as a trusted brand into the community. I believe we are going to do it one way or another,” Hercules said.
According to Comer, it will be another few weeks for the 12 lottery retail winners to be announced. DCP does plan to hold a second lottery in the second half of the year.