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Social Equity Council advances 16 hopeful cannabis growers in Connecticut application process

A CTPharma staff member checks on marijuana flowers in the Rocky Hill facility. Connecticut announced the advancement of 16 out of 41 social equity applications for cultivator licenses.

Connecticut state regulators have been working to help residents disproportionately affected by the war on drugs gain a foothold in Connecticut’s adult-use cannabis industry.

The state Department of Consumer Protection announced this week that it advanced 16 out of 41 social equity applications for cultivator licenses, which were reviewed for eligibility criteria by a third party hired by the state’s Social Equity Council.

Andrea Comer, chair of the council, said the next step will involve the Department of Consumer Protection reviewing background checks for the 16 approved applicants.

“Once those are complete, and their fee of $3 million is paid, they will receive their provisional license,” said Comer, who is also the DCP’s deputy commissioner.

The Social Equity Council was created by state law to ensure that locals from underrepresented communities get equitable access to Connecticut’s adult-use cannabis market.

Comer said that for the 25 applicants who failed to move to the next round, questions arose about whether they had the true majority ownership of their proposed cannabis business. Locals are allowed to have backers, as long as the applicants have majority control of the business.

“So for instance, someone can, on paper, be a 65% owner of the business, but if their board is made up of four people, and the social equity applicant only has one vote, that’s 25%,” she said.

State law was designed to make sure underrepresented groups had a chance at obtaining a cultivator’s license – and not only big Cannabis corporations.

Once provisional licenses are granted, the final applicants will have an opportunity to prepare for full licensure to cultivate, grow and propagate adult-use cannabis.

Business applicants selected for next steps:

CT Plant Based Compassionate Care LLC


Shangri-La Dispensary

Soulstar CT LLC

Nova Farms Connecticut LLC

The Flower House LLC


The Yard Connecticut LLC

Quinnipiac Valley Growth Partners LLC

Impact Initiatives LLC


Connecticut Cultivation Solutions LLC

FRC Holdings LLC

River Growers CT LLC

Connecticut Social Equity LLC

The Cannabis Garden LLC

In a release, the DCP said proceeds from the licensing fees would go toward investments in communities located in a Disproportionately Impacted Area (DIA), as determined by the state.

Brenda León is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Brenda covers the Latino/a, Latinx community with an emphasis on wealth-based disparities in health, education and criminal justice.
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