HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – While lawmakers have legalized marijuana in Connecticut, the state continues to create the infrastructure and licensing for dispensaries.
The law allows up to $50 million. On Thursday, they released the first $10 million for low-interest loans that will help Social Equity Licenses get people back on their feet.
“The ballpark you’ll need, easily between $750,000 and $1.5 million depending on how you’re looking to add the finishing touches,” said Sonserae Cicero, CEO of Levity Management.
It’s not cheap or easy to be a part of Connecticut’s new legalized marijuana industry, and funding is hard to come by, especially for social equity licenses.
“You can’t walk into Bank of America and get a loan, and there are investors there, but you know, there’s no app for that,” said Andrea Comer, deputy commissioner. to the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection.
Marijuana is still federally illegal, so the government can seize bank accounts, which means the marijuana industry operates primarily with cash. Cicero is looking to acquire one of the social equity licenses. She said just going through the licensing process can be expensive and loans will be essential.
“It can be anywhere from $1,000 to $15,000 for social equity candidates upfront, so even giving us a seat at the table is phenomenal,” Cicero said.
Indeed, between the moment you obtain your provisional license and the moment you receive the final licence, it can take up to 14 months, and there is a lot of work to be done in between.
“You have to have a location, you have to have municipal approval, you have to have your business plan available for people to see,” Comer said.
There’s also the supply chain, manufacturing and construction, all before your final license is granted. There could be up to an additional $40 million to help speed up the process.
“Once you’ve got your brick and mortar in place for manufacturing and/or distribution, it’s so much more than just wanting to be a social equity candidate,” Cicero said.
The lottery starts in May. The state expects to see its first dispensaries around the first of the year.