Cannabis buds (CTNewsJunkie / photo)
Cannabis buds (CTNewsJunkie / photo) Credit: Christine Stuart / CTNewsJunkie

The lottery for anyone wanting to participate in Connecticut’s cannabis industry as a retailer closes at midnight May 4. 

The Department of Consumer Protection said that as of last Thursday it received 1,215 entries for a general license and 1,957 entries for a social equity license. 

There will be six general licenses issued and six social equity licenses issues. The entries will be handed over to a third party vendor to choose which entries get the provisional license. 

“They can apply as much as they want, but they have to pay a fee every time,” Kaitlyn Krasslet, a spokeswoman for the DCP, said. 

Krasslet said they do plan to have another lottery this summer and any social equity applicant who doesn’t get chosen will be added to the general lottery. 

It costs $500 for a general license entry and $250 for a social equity license entry. Those fees are not refundable. 

“We do expect there to be many more applications,” Krasslet said. 

The DCP has already received entries for medical hybrid retailers, micro cultivators, and food and beverage manufacturers. 

Advocates who pushed for legalization in Connecticut worry that the system is rigged against those who they tried to help with this legislation. 

“Our folks don’t have the capital,” Rep. Anne Hughes, D-Easton, said. 

She said she was surprised to learn an out-of-state company received a seven-figure sum from the quasi-public agency, Connecticut Innovations, to apply for these licenses. 

“They’re skipping the line,” Hughes said. 

Jason Ortiz, executive director of SSDP, said there’s nothing in the Connecticut licensing scheme that should help an out-of-state company get a license in the Nutmeg state. 

In a webinar last week, Peter Barsoom, CEO and Co-Founder of 1906 New Highs, said they will be applying, but they haven’t applied yet. However, they plan to submit more than one. 

“We are planning to release additional details later this week regarding the investment from Connecticut Innovations,” Barsoom said in an email regarding questions about the investment. 

Barsoom’s company received $1.25 from Connecticut Innovations. 

“There’s no social equity here,” Rep. Robyn Porter, D-New Haven, said. “The damn bus has left the station and I’m still waiting.” 

Porter worries that the industry is going to be set before those disadvantaged by the war on drugs will even get a shot. 

She said it reminds her of plantation politics. 

“Make me whole. This piece meal thing is not going to work to build intergenerational wealth,” she said. 

She said “poverty is a policy choice” and the state’s legalization is allowing oppression to continue.