A cannabis grower and member of the UFCW.
A cannabis grower and member of the UFCW. Credit: Contributed photo / UFCW Local 919

The state announced the first eight winners of the general lottery to grow and sell cannabis for recreational use in Connecticut. 

This is the second round of announcements. The first round went to social equity applicants who have individuals impacted by the War on Drugs involved in their business operations. 

Six companies won retail licenses and two won micro-cultivator licenses. The retailer licenses went to Debbie’s Dispensary, LLC; Shangri-La CT, Inc (selected twice), Hydra East, LLC; Slap Ash, LLC, and Sara’s Dispensary LLC and the micro-cultivator licenses went to Debbie’s Dispensary, LLC; Chillax LLC. 

Those businesses will now have an opportunity to apply for a provisional license that will allow them to take additional business steps such as formalizing lease agreements, securing real estate and capital, and hiring security teams. 

The provisional license will last for up to 14 months, but the businesses won’t be able to start selling the product until they pass a background check and receive a final license. The Department of Consumer Protection still expects that could happen before the end of the year. 

There are 14 different license types for growing, manufacturing, transporting, and selling cannabis in Connecticut. At least half the winners of the lottery are social equity applicants. 

However, the lottery process of who qualifies as a social equity applicant is being challenged in court. Several applicants believe they were unfairly denied that social equity status. 

The general lottery in which the above businesses participated included all applicants, as well as 15,000 applicants who were not selected in the Social Equity Lottery. The selected applications represent the maximum number of licenses available for the retailer and micro-cultivator license types in the first lottery round. 

A DCP spokeswoman said additional licenses will be available in future lotteries.

The approved applicants and their backers have been asked to submit additional information for the required background check and provisional license application, which will be reviewed by DCP. The background check is conducted by a third-party processing company and DCP’s review of the applications is expected to take several weeks.