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Application Process for Connecticut Cannabis Businesses to Begin Feb. 3

  • Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection announces it will begin accepting applications to begin recreational cannabis businesses starting Feb. 3
  • A total of 56 licenses will be available for cannabis businesses such as retailers, delivery services, micro-cultivators, and food and beverage manufacturers
  • Retail sales of recreational cannabis are expected to begin later this year

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

Connecticut will begin accepting applications on Feb. 3 from entrepreneurs looking to open recreational marijuana businesses in the state, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection has announced.

The announcement followed the approval of a technical assistance plan on Tuesday by the state’s Social Equity Council. This plan will include information and mentoring support for applicants on topics such as starting and maintaining a business, the state’s lottery process, applying for a provisional license, and regulations related to the recreational cannabis business itself.

DCP Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull said the Social Equity Council’s work was a “critical step” for making licenses available and pursuing the state’s equity goals. Connecticut is reserving at least half of all licenses for social equity applicants, or those from communities deemed to have been most negatively impacted by marijuana criminalization.

Recreational cannabis was legalized by a vote of the Connecticut General Assembly last year. The law immediately legalized the use and possession of cannabis by adults, and retail sales are expected to begin later this year.

Lottery process

Two lotteries will take place for each license type: one for social equity applicants and one for general applicants. Those applying as social equity applicants will have their application reviewed by the Social Equity Council to confirm that they qualify for this designation, which stipulates that at least 65 percent of the business must be owned or controlled by individuals who meet the social equity income and residency requirements established under the law.

The general lottery process will begin after the social equity application process is completed. All individuals selected through the lottery process will be eligible to apply for a provisional license.

The DCP plans to hold multiple lotteries on an ongoing basis for licenses related to recreational cannabis businesses, and will announce the number of available licenses before each round. After the initial lottery that will kick off Feb. 3, a second lottery is expected sometime in the second half of 2022.

“The initial number of available licenses is not a cap, but a starting point for opening the adult-use cannabis market in an effective, measured and thoughtful way,” said Seagull. “We know people are anxious to apply and see this market open, and we are hopeful that making this information available will help applicants as they begin to prepare for the lottery process.”

“We encourage applicants to be thorough, and complete their applications carefully and thoughtfully,” said DCP Drug Control Director Rod Marriott. “Applications for most license types will be entered into a lottery. There is no advantage for applicants who submit their lottery applications first. Applicants should prioritize submitting the best application they can.”

Lottery schedule

Lotteries will open between Feb. 3 and March 24. Each lottery will have a 90-day period in which applications will be accepted. A total of 56 licenses will be available in the first round.

The following license types will become available:


Recreational cannabis retailers sell the product to consumers ages 21 and older; they can also sell to research programs. These businesses can purchase cannabis from producers, cultivators, micro-cultivators, product manufacturers and food and beverage manufacturers.

  • Application process begins: Feb. 3
  • General licenses available: 6
  • Social equity licenses available: 6


Micro-cultivators grow cannabis for either recreational or medical use, with a cultivation space of 2,000 to 10,000 square feet. These businesses can later expand up to 25,000 square feet of cultivation space or change their license to a cultivator to support a greater expansion.

  • Application process begins: Feb. 10
  • General licenses available: 2
  • Social equity licenses available: 2

Delivery service

Delivery service businesses transport cannabis and cannabis products from certain cannabis establishments to consumers as well as qualifying patients and caregivers.

  • Application process begins: Feb. 17
  • General licenses available: 5
  • Social equity licenses available: 5

Hybrid retailer

A hybrid retailer sells cannabis both for adult recreational use and to qualifying patients and caregivers for medical use.

  • Application process begins: Feb. 24
  • General licenses available: 2
  • Social equity licenses available: 2

Food and beverage

These manufacturers incorporate cannabis into products intended for human consumption. They are not permitted to sell directly to consumers or qualifying patients and caregivers, and must instead sell or transport their products to licensed cannabis establishments, laboratories or research programs.

  • Application process begins: March 3
  • General licenses available: 5
  • Social equity licenses available: 5

Product manufacturer

Product manufacturers perform manufacturing activities such as cannabis extraction and chemical synthesis. While they may not perform direct sales, product manufacturers can sell or transport their products to a cannabis establishment, laboratory, or research program.

  • Application process begins: March 10
  • General licenses available: 3
  • Social equity licenses available: 3

Product packager

Product packagers label and package cannabis products in compliance with state laws, regulations, and policies.

  • Application process begins: March 17
  • General licenses available: 3
  • Social equity licenses available: 3


Transporters deliver cannabis and cannabis products between cannabis establishments, laboratories, and research programs. This license is distinct from that of a delivery service.

  • Application process begins: March 24
  • General licenses available: 2
  • Social equity licenses available: 2

Non-lottery processes

A one-time, non-lottery 90-day application window will begin Feb. 3 for disproportionately impacted area cultivators. These applications will be granted to social equity applicants in census tracts where the conviction rate for drug-related offenses is higher than one-tenth or the unemployment rate exceeds 10 percent. Cultivators can grow cannabis for recreational or medical use and must have at least 15,000 square feet of cultivation space.

The lottery process also will not apply to currently licensed medical marijuana producers converting to engage in the recreational cannabis market or to become hybrid retailers, applicants applying for a cannabis establishment license as an equity joint venture or social equity partner with a licensed medical marijuana producer or dispensary, or the Micro-Cultivator Assistance Program which will be developed by the Social Equity Council.

In addition, Connecticut is currently not granting any additional licenses for medical cannabis producers or dispensaries.

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