The Connecticut Social Equity Council via Zoom during its Thursday, March 17 meeting.

Connecticut’s Social Equity Council continued its streak of quick meetings that are light on discussion, when it approved social equity status for 13 more prospective license holders during a public hearing on Aug. 19 that lasted about as many minutes.

The SEC previously approved social equity lottery winners for 5 of the 6 available retail licenses, in the last week of July. At the time, the sixth lottery winner did not qualify for social equity based on a review from consulting firm CohnReznick.

One month later, the CohnReznick was back with a sixth retailer that passed their smell test, rounding out the first batch of lottery winners. The Council also approved – without discussion – recommendations from CohnReznick to approve two micro-cultivation licenses, two product packager licenses, four delivery licenses, one hybrid retailer and three equity joint venture retailers.

Many of the EJV applications, which allow established cannabis companies to partner with up to two different social equity applicants for separate operations, were submitted by just a few different financial backers, though the social equity council continues to not disclose any applicant company named during public meetings.

“Many of these had related entities. So there were five distinct blocks of related entities among the 11 applications,” said Geoffrey Magon of CohnReznick. “One block of them had four applications where all four failed the residency portion and three of the four failed the ownership and control standard.”

The Social Equity Council has not been clear about when social equity lotteries would take place, but this meeting did seem to indicate that most of those lotteries have happened.

Earlier this year the state’s Department of Consumer Protection (DCP), which oversees the medical and adult use cannabis program, announced that in the first round of license lotteries, there would be a limited number of licenses awarded, split evenly between social equity and general applicants.

So far, only social equity retail and micro-cultivation social equity lottery winners will be forwarded to DCP for further processing before provisional licenses for the two respective types are issued.

“The remaining license types will be sent to DCP once the maximum number of applicants have been approved for social equity status in each license category,” said Andrea Comer during the Aug. 19 meeting.

Meanwhile, there are now about a dozen lawsuits that have been filed against the Social Equity Council and the state. Most are appeals of their respective rejections, but at least one, which was filed by Kebra Smith-Bolden on August 4, includes a demand for an injunction preventing any provisional or final licenses from being issued.

There is currently no date set for a hearing on the motion for temporary injunction, but considering that there is currently just a provisional license holder, the Social Equity Council might need to pick up the pace on their own approvals.

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Zack cut his journalistic teeth covering high school sports in the south before spending a decade covering local government, politics and the courts in the Boston, Massachusetts area. He's previously written...