cannabis

Social Equity Council Seeks 30 Day Extension For Applications

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The council in charge of deciding who will be given licenses to open recreational cannabis dispensaries in Connecticut wants more time for the application process.

Cannabis is legal in Connecticut, but it might take longer than expected before you can buy it here. 

That’s because the Social Equity Council took one step forward and one step back Tuesday.

“The financial cap of annual income creates an unrealistic barrier for entry to the market,” Tyler Crespo of Ripple Wellness told the council. 

Crespo has a licensed facility in Maine with over 5,000 square feet of crop.

“Making less than $74,000 annually cannot support anything of that nature,” Crespo said.  

But he says it will have unintended consequences. 

“Forcing that individual to partner with outside corporate interests, essentially only creating a lottery of individuals with no business fundamentals,” Crespo said. 

Some members of the Social Equity Council were worried the business supports weren’t there for those who want to apply. 

“We want to make sure everyone has the information they need to go into this business eyes wide open,” Andrea Comer, who chairs the council, said. 

Comer says some members didn’t believe they’d given impacted communities enough time to understand the program and decide whether to apply.

“The legislation had some really aggressive timelines in it,” she said. 

“To be able to achieve this and achieve it right there are going to be some goalposts that get missed,” she added. 

That’s ok for some members of the community the council is targeting. 

“We didn’t feel it was appropriate to move forward yet,” Ivelisse Correa of BLM 860 said. 

Correa, who disrupted the meeting at one point, said she’s opposed to the $500 application fee. 

“Right now this $500 application fee is very hurtful and prohibitive to families in the inner city,” she said. 

“If a $500 fee is what's keeping you from entering the lottery then the costs of doing the business are going to be prohibitive for you,” Comer said. 

Comer said the revenue from the applications needs to start coming in and then they can decide how to use it to help the community. 

“It’s kind of a Catch 22 in some ways,” Comer said. 

The Department of Consumer Protection still has to decide whether to extend the timeline 30 days which means applications will open at the end of January.

“In a perfect world the frameworks would have been built first and the process would follow. That said, we're playing the hand we’ve been dealt,” Comer added.