CT approves, revokes and denies social equity status under new cannabis rules

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A ruling by a cannabis social equity oversight board in Connecticut has significantly altered the landscape for a group of adult-use applicants and license holders.

The Social Equity Council (SEC) approved the equity status of six applicants, revoked previous approvals of five applicants and denied another five applications, the Hartford Business Journal reported.

The approvals, which essentially greenlight operators for build-out plans, were all awarded to affiliates of Chicago-based multistate operator Verano Holdings, including:

  • Caring Nature EJV 1.
  • Caring Nature EJV 2.
  • CT Pharma Norwich.
  • CT Pharma Newington.
  • Willow Brook Stratford.
  • Willow Brook Enfield.

Verano also operates the market’s largest cannabis grower and product manufacturer under its CT Pharma brand.

To qualify for an equity joint venture (EJV), a business must be least 50% owned and controlled by an individual or individuals who meet social equity criteria.

However, under new adopted guidelines last year, EJVs were limited to two per establishment.

That led to the denials of five applications as the SEC has already approved the maximum number of EVJs for those businesses, according to the Business Journal.

A separate amendment, which prohibited social equity applicants from ownership of multiple EJVs, led to the revocation of five proposals from local operator Fine Fettle.

Fine Fettle and Verano’s Zen Leaf were among the first seven medical marijuana retailers that transitioned to adult-use sales when Connecticut’s recreational market launched Jan 10.

Fine Fettle Chief Operating Officer Ben Zachstold told Hartford Business the company plans to resubmit new ownership teams for the EJVs within several weeks.