How to Open a Dispensary in Connecticut

Posted on November 22nd, 2022 to Learn

Connecticut has been a bit slower than other New England states about allowing cannabis. However, medical cannabis use was legalized in 2012 in Connecticut, while recreational cannabis was just passed in mid-2021. If you are planning on opening a dispensary in Connecticut, there’s no time like the present to get your foot in the door. Here is a look at how to open a dispensary in Connecticut.

How to Open a Dispensary in Connecticut

While the medical cannabis program is well-established in CT, licenses for medical dispensaries in CT are extremely limited. As of 2022, there were only 18 registered medical dispensaries in the state, and the license portal to submit a Request for Application (RFA) is only open periodically. Similarly, adult-use license seekers have to wait until the state is accepting new applications, and, even then, licenses are awarded via a lottery. The last application/lottery period closed in May 2022. Six standard retailer licenses and six social equity licenses were awarded.

Since dispensary or cannabis retailer licenses in CT are so limited, it is a good idea to know all about how to get a Connecticut dispensary license and have everything ready when application periods open. However, because adult-use cannabis is so new in CT, some licensing processes are still in progress and open to change.

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1. Take a Look at the Cannabis Laws and Regulations in CT

CT has a relatively extensive collection of laws and codes surrounding cannabis. As you are learning how to start a dispensary in Connecticut, take the time to get familiar with the laws that will pertain to your planned dispensary. These guidelines will affect and determine a lot of things about how you do business, such as:

  • Where dispensaries can legally be located
  • What type of building can be used and what the floor plan should be
  • The type of security that the dispensary has in place
  • How cannabis products are displayed, packaged, and sold
  • What technologies you must use for tracking sales and inventory
  • Who you can hire to work at the dispensary
  • What types of marketing and advertising you can use

2. Submit an RFA and File the Initial Application

Submitting your RFA to the Department of Consumer Protection gives you access to the application for an adult-use dispensary license. This application is the first step to gaining your provisional license. Therefore, you will not be required to submit a business plan or have a physical storefront secured at this point. Nevertheless, you will have to pay a $500 application fee to be included in the lottery and provide information regarding:

  • Prior criminal actions
  • Up-to-date employer information
  • Information about other cannabis licenses you hold
  • Backers that have a financial interest in the cannabis dispensary

If you are chosen for a provisional license by the lottery, you will need to pay the $5,000 provisional license fee.

3. Move Ahead After Provisional Licensing

Once you have been approved for a provisional cannabis retailer license, you will move into the final stage of the process to gain your actual license. You will work toward securing your physical storefront and creating a business plan, both of which will have to be approved before your license will be issued. The final license after completing all objectives required by the provisional license will cost you another $25,000.

Ready to get the word out about your new dispensary?

Every time a state goes newly recreationally legal, fantastic prospects open up for those interested in the cannabis business. As you learn how to get a dispensary license in Connecticut, be sure to look at how your business should be marketed. Part of making sure your business stands out from the pack is to create the best digital marketing plan possible. Need a little help? That’s what CannaPlanners is all about as a full-service digital marketing agency with a focus on cannabis. Reach out to get a conversation started.

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