Connecticut Beats New York to Recreational Cannabis Legalization

Beard Bros Pharms Emerald Cup Classification SystemConnecticut might be New York’s sleepier neighbor, but the Empire State might just find itself looking east for inspiration when it comes to cannabis legalization.

As you may know, the regulators put in charge of the eventual adult-use recreational cannabis market in New York have gone on the record saying that they are roughly 18 months away from the launch of that market. That puts their timeline well into 2023!

In Connecticut, however, the recreational market is slated to open in the Spring of 2022 and includes a thoughtful set of practices that will benefit market diversity in the years to come.

As acquisitions, mergers, and compliance buzz encircles the northeast in anticipation of New York’s recreational legalization, Connecticut’s soon-to-launch program offers solutions that benefit producers and social equity.

What Will Cannabis Legalization Look Like in Connecticut?

A regional effort was launched to coordinate general adult-use cannabis frameworks, but states were welcome to introduce unique considerations as they saw fit. What sets Connecticut’s social equity program apart is as follows:

  1. The state will offer half of all recreational marijuana store licenses to social equity applicants and the rest to a lottery system. At present, the number of total licenses is not announced.
  2. Existing medical marijuana producers and dispensaries can convert to adult-use under certain conditions. A fee of $3 million for producers and $1 million for dispensaries can be cut in half if the MMJ operator partners with a social equity business.
  3. The initial round of cultivation licenses will be granted to applicants with social equity programs that locate their facilities in areas most affected by the devastating War on Drugs.

Market analysis will continue to inform the total number of licenses that are offered. Local jurisdictions will continue to have input on how and where producers and retailers may establish their operations. To help levy against any market uncertainty on the part of entrepreneurs, the state is implementing support systems such as provisional licenses to help businesses navigate the changing regulations without overcommitting to real estate or full licensing.

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Multi-state operators will continue to have a strong presence in Connecticut production. Still, initiatives are being planned to bolster local producers with in-state market efforts that benefit innovation and launchings within the state boundary.

Overall, the low cost to entry and a strong focus on social equity programs sees Connecticut looking collaboratively to the future for cannabis consumers and producers. If this program is well-received, it may very well form a robust framework for other states to follow as the legalization movement gains traction nationwide.

Editor’s Note: Hell, Siberia might beat New York to legal weed at this point! While we would love to believe that they are just being prudent… you know, crossing their I’s and dotting their T’s and whatnot…  that sure feels naive this day and age, doesn’t it?

Instead, the safer bet is that they are plotting, scheming, and colluding to find ways to ensure that the multibillion-dollar market financially benefits the few.

New York’s eventual rulebook might not mirror that being imposed in California, but the end goal will be the same – consolidation. The powers that be always find it easier to conspire with/against the few so it only makes sense, from their twisted perspective, to award as many licenses as possible to as few entities as possible. Even in this article, we learn that Connecticut, as progressive as they claim to be, will invite MSOs (Multi-State  Operators) into their relatively small market. That’s way easier than keeping tabs on tens of thousands of willing, able, and qualified operators.

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