12 companies applying for cannabis cultivation licenses suing Connecticut
The number of lawsuits challenging Connecticut's cannabis cultivator licensing process has grown to a dozen.
Earlier this summer, two Hartford County-based businesses were the first to challenge their denials for cultivator licenses by the state's Social Equity Council that they did not meet requirements set forth for so-called social equity applicants. Since then, 10 more lawsuits have been filed.
The state Department of Consumer Protection, which is overseeing the regulation of the adult use market in Connecticut, and the state's Department of Economic and Community Development are also named as defendants in the suits.
Among the applicants suing because of the denial of a cannabis cultivator license is Core Cult, a Farmington-based limited liability company.
In a filing made in Superior Court, attorneys for Core Cult contend it was improperly denied a license by the Social Equity Council because it failed to prove the residency requirement of the company's majority member, Leo Veleas. Attorneys for the company said the council also improperly denied the company's application, claiming Veleas did not meet ownership and control requirements.
Lawsuits were also filed on behalf of the following limited liability companies: Coastal Cannabis in Westbrook, Red Barn Farms in West Hartford, DF C3 in Stamford, Leaf CT in Waterbury, Let's Grow Hartford, Elm City Agg in Guilford, Green Meadows Farm in Bridgeport, Gunter Investments in West Hartford and Nautilus Botanicals in Bridgeport.
A spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office, which is representing the state, had no comment on the complaints.
Connecticut legalized cannabis for adults 21 and older last year. It is now setting up the new marketplace with retail stores expected to open as soon as the end of this year.
Half of the cannabis licenses are reserved for what are know as social equity applicants. These applicants must meet income, residency, and ownership rules, with the goal of creating opportunity to get involved in the legal market for those in communities that were targeted by the war on drugs.
The state's cannabis law stipulates that an applicant for a social equity license must own and control 65 percent of the business.
Of the 41 applications for social equity cultivator licenses, 16 were given initial approval by the Social Equity Council after a vetting by the accounting firm CohnReznick. Fifteen of those licenses are still considered pending, while one named Insta CT LLC is listed as provisionally active.