Kaitlyn Krasselt, Communications Director for the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) – the agency overseeing adult use cannabis licensing in the state – confirmed to Cannabis Benchmarks that the state is likely to commence adult use cannabis sales late this year. Connecticut’s medical cannabis program has four licensed producers, which are all Multi-State Operators (MSOs). The licensed producers supply 18 dispensaries across the state, which are owned by the same companies that hold the producer licenses and are sure to apply for adult use licenses in the state’s cannabis license lottery. MSOs can convert their medical cannabis licenses into a “hybrid license” and, in addition, are allowed to partner with social equity applicants.
Thus far, Connecticut has collected over 8,200 social equity retailer applications for participation in the cannabis license lottery. The general lottery, for non-social equity applicants, has over 7,200 applications. Krasselt said there is no limit on the number of applications that can be entered into the lottery, providing each application is accompanied by the $500 application fee. As yet, no retailer licenses have been issued, but it is expected that 12 retailer licenses will be awarded out of the first lottery; six to social equity applicants and six to general applicants.
Krasselt said her agency “has not determined how many licenses will be available in the next lottery.” When asked if Connecticut was capping licenses, she responded “licenses are capped … and uncapped,” in that the DCP can decide to add more lotteries once two rounds of lotteries for each license type are completed. Krasselt noted that while medical cannabis operations are vertically integrated with MSOs owning the entire medical supply chain, new adult use licensees will be allowed to hold two license types but cannot be fully vertically integrated.
Connecticut spot prices have been rising steadily since fall 2021, climbing about $300 per pound to just over the $3,300 level this year. Prices are expected to begin to move sharply higher several months before the start of adult use sales at the end of this year. Given the proximity of several states committed to adult use legalization, it is likely prices across the Northeast will rapidly converge once each state is up and running. Below is a chart of Connecticut’s Spot Index and that of the adjacent state of Massachusetts, where the adult use market has been open for roughly three and a half years.