opening a dispensary in Connecticut

8 min read

How to Open a Dispensary in Connecticut  

January 8, 2023

The fifth state to join the United States in 1788, Connecticut was the 19th state to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. The state legislature of Connecticut passed a 300-page bill to legalize and control cannabis on June 17, 2021, during the 50th anniversary of the War on Drugs. After being signed by Governor Ned Lamont, the legislation became effective on July 1st, 2021.  

On February 3rd, 2022, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection began accepting applications for recreational licenses. Since medical marijuana shops have been permitted in Connecticut since 2012, the state already has some legal, physical, and human resources set up for the sector.

The Connecticut cannabis market has been estimated to be worth more than $700m in a few years. It is becoming a more and more competitive sector throughout the state. The new law has set forth many rules and regulations to support small businesses and startups to get into the cannabis market of Connecticut, including implementing social equity programs. 

The overall number of permits that will be offered is just one of many details concerning the new recreational program that still needs to be worked out. But you may prepare yourself by learning about the requirements of the current law, the situation of the Connecticut cannabis industry at the moment, and how to enter the cannabis market in general. There is no time like the present to get your foot in the door.

How to Get a Connecticut Dispensary License 

You should know the following if you want to know how to open a dispensary in Connecticut. The Connecticut cannabis program for adult-use cannabis licenses is governed by the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP), which initially only managed the medical marijuana program in Connecticut. DCP released laws that safeguard customers by guaranteeing high-quality goods, defending minors, and combating product diversion.

Connecticut provides a limited number of cannabis licenses for both medical and recreational purposes, giving social equity applicants priority.

The anticipated opening of recreational marijuana stores in Connecticut will probably be delayed until the first quarter of 2023. It now appears that the state will not be able to meet its initial goal of having retail shops operational by the end of 2022. 

To get familiarized with the laws to start your dispensary business, you should visit the Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection website. 

Create a Comprehensive Business Plan

The plan will help you detail how your business will operate. It should comprise details about supplies and employees, as well as ideas on how you will ensure funding to open a dispensary, etc. 

Apply for Your Dispensary Application

It should be noted that the state accepts license applications periodically. Here is the list of the documents you must submit with your application: 

  • Information about the applicant, such as identification details and qualifications in the cannabis industry;
  • A financial statement containing information about the company’s finances;
  • A planned dispensary site plan with a floor layout, images of the area, and the signage you intend to use; 
  • A thorough business strategy that describes the offerings, services, and day-to-day operations;
  • Plans for the company’s marketing efforts, including drafts of the marketing materials and website layouts.

Social Equity in Connecticut

It is essential to consider if you are wondering how to open a dispensary In Connecticut, that applicants for social equity were instantly given priority during the application process. They are qualified for the state’s Accelerator program, which seeks to facilitate the application process by making the necessary data easily available and comprehensible. These initiatives, which are based on industry best practices, will be matched with the appropriate state application type.

In this very line, we should inform our new initiative to facilitate Connecticut’s social equity program. IndicaOnline, strongly believes in equal opportunity.

In an effort to create an equitable ownership and employment environment in the cannabis industry, we’ve launched an IndicaOnline Social Equity Program.  

To become a beneficiary of IndicaOnline Social Equity Program, you must meet one or more of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Your store is owned by a member of an underrepresented group in the cannabis industry, such as a minority, woman, or service-disabled veteran.
  • As the store owner, you have had previous marijuana convictions or have been negatively impacted by the War on Drugs before the state legalization but do not have a history of selling to minors or a violent criminal record.
  • Your store currently holds a social equity license issued by an agency in Connecticut. 

In addition, to qualify for our program, you can not be an existing IndicaOnline customer.

Are you eligible to become a beneficiary? Then we are ready to help fulfill your dream of opening a dispensary. Apply here. 

How Much Does It Cost to Open a Dispensary in Connecticut?

Types and Fees of Cannabis Licenses in Connecticut


Application Provisional License Final License
Retailer $500 $5,000 $25,000
Hybrid Retailer $500 $5,000 $25,000
Cultivator $1,000 $25,000 $75,000
MicroCultivator $250 $500 $1,000
Product Manufacturer $750 $5,000 $25,000
Food and Beverage Manufacturers $250 $1,000 $5,000
Product Packager $500 $5,000 $25,000
Delivery Service $250 $1,000 $5,000
Transporter $250 $1,000 $5,000


Dispensary Retailer License

For a retailer license, there will be an entry cost of $500, a provisional licensing charge of $5,000, and a final license price of $25,000 to be paid. There are 6 licenses for general use and 6 licenses for social equity that Connecticut DCP grants.

Hybrid Dispensary Retailer License

A licensed hybrid retailer can sell marijuana and marijuana-related items to adults over 21 and medicinal marijuana to patients and caregivers who meet specific requirements.

For a hybrid retailer license, there will be an entry cost of $500, a provisional licensing charge of $5,000, and a final license price of $25,000 to be paid. Two general licenses and two licenses for social equity are available within this program in Connecticut.

Medical Cannabis Dispensary Application Fee and Guidelines

Applicants for a Medical Marijuana Dispensary License must also include a $100 non-refundable, non-transferable startup fee with their registration paperwork. Additionally, there is a $100 renewal cost per year.  

Applying for a Medical Marijuana Dispensary License comes with an initial application fee of $1,000, a registration fee of $5,000, and a renewal fee of $5,000, all of which are non-refundable.

How to Secure Funding in Connecticut

If you plan to open a dispensary in Connecticut, don’t expect a traditional bank or a creditor to loan you money.  While the state allows cannabis companies to legally operate, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law. You will need to find an alternative lender. 

Luckily, there are companies that provide significant financial support for you if you intend to enter this lucrative industry in Connecticut. These companies have the best team of experts who will help you choose the proper funding and loan options for cannabis businesses. 

They have the tools and resources to assist you in growing your business, including cannabis working capital loans, lines of credit, equipment and vendor finance, and dispensary loans. 

How to Find the Right Location to Open a Dispensary

You must first check that cannabis dispensary licenses are still being granted in your state before submitting even one application form. The second thing you should consider is whether marijuana is permitted where you live. The majority of marijuana-legalizing states have left it up to local municipal governments to decide whether to let cannabis enterprises operate within their borders. You must learn whether opening a cannabis dispensary is legal in your county, city, or town if you plan to do so.

Security Options

The strong demand for cannabis in Connecticut justifies the necessity for more protection. Certified security services will not only keep your company safe but will also boost your revenue.

A survey found that one in two cannabis retailers are targeted, with losses per theft reaching thousands of dollars. These figures alone demonstrate the value of security in the cannabis industry. 

The financial losses are not the only reason for increased security; since marijuana was in the past classified as an illegal substance, the state has a strong interest in controlling it, so it is essential to comply with the government cannabis laws.   

Before a cannabis facility is authorized to operate, these standards are frequently examined. Make sure to pick a certified security guard company if you own a cannabis business.  

If you want to comply with state security standards, your facility must have the following cannabis security measures: 

  • Your building needs a stringent access control system, and all exit and entry points leading to the store or the growth facility must be heavily guarded. 
  • The growth facility, as well as any exits or entry points, should be closely monitored.
  • Your cannabis facility’s storage spaces must be safe, secure, and under constant video supervision.
  • All security measures should be adequately documented, which includes keeping a list of everyone who enters and leaves your building.

The Current Cannabis Market in Connecticut 

Legalizing marijuana in Connecticut will lead to significant growth. It is anticipated that when the Connecticut marijuana market matures, it will increase GDP, create new jobs, and bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in additional annual tax income. Legalization is anticipated to safeguard consumers and the broader public, reduce economic losses from citizens attempting to cross the border, and slow the growth of the black market.

Though the federal government continues to classify marijuana as an illegal drug with no medical uses, there are now 18 states nationwide that have embraced recreational legalization, representing nearly half the country’s population. Another 19 have enacted comprehensive medical programs.

Now, cannabis companies across the nation see the potentially multibillion-dollar market as a new engine of growth.


For more information regarding Connecticut marijuana laws, click here. We are growing with you, and providing our support with a social equity program is our new initiative we are proud of. 

Due to the industry’s uniqueness, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with state laws and rules before you open a dispensary fully compliant with Connecticut marijuana laws. We hope that by giving you the appropriate information and reading materials, our article was helpful to you.