Connecticut faces legal challenges to marijuana equity cultivation licensing

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(This story has been updated to reflect that additional appeals have been filed.)

Litigation over Connecticut’s first round of adult-use marijuana social equity licensing has started.

At least four Connecticut businesses are appealing license denials by the state’s Social Equity Council, according to lawsuits filed in Hartford Superior Court.

The four are:

  • Connectibuds.
  • The Goods THC Co.
  • The Hartford Cannabis Co.
  • A joint venture between Kebra Smith-Bolden of Connecticut and Acreage Connecticut Cultivation. Acreage Connecticut is partly owned by the New York-based marijuana multistate operator Acreage Holdings.

In all, the Social Equity Council recommended that only 16 of 41 applicants receive the large cultivation equity licenses, saying the others didn’t meet the criteria.

The four unsuccessful applicants similarly take issue with an ownership control definition added by the Social Equity Council after the application process had started, and how that provision was interpreted by the application evaluators.

The plaintiffs are asking for their license denials to be reversed.

State regulators declined comment to a local publication on the pending litigation.

Financial backing from other entities is allowed as long as a social equity applicant maintains 65% ownership and control of the business.

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State regulators recently identified the 16 equity applicants that can move toward getting an adult-use cultivation license.

Final licensees will be permitted to build cultivation facilities up to 250,000 square feet.

Jeff Smith can be reached at