Verano to Open Six Social Equity Joint Ventures in Connecticut

Verano has two non-social equity locations in the state as well.

The first of six social equity joint ventures backed by multistate operator Verano Holdings (CSE: VRNO) (OTCQX: VRNOF) has opened in Connecticut, doing business under the MSO’s umbrella retail brand Zen Leaf.

The new shop, which opened in Norwich last month, will sell both medical and recreational marijuana and is at least 50% owned by a qualified social equity applicant who was directly harmed by cannabis prohibition, The Hour reported.

The state social equity program allows for such licensees to partner with larger companies like Verano, and the MSO plans to take full advantage of the opportunity to open a half dozen new storefronts around Connecticut, the company confirmed to The Hour. All six will operate under the Zen Leaf brand.

“Those are the folks that the state decided to try to target to empower through this program,” James Leventis, Verano’s vice president for legal, regulatory, and government affairs, told The Hour. “We recognize that cannabis as an industry in general has disadvantaged certain people, and the industry as a whole has been very good to us. This is all we do here.”

It’s unclear yet when the next five will open, Leventis said.

Verano already had two medical marijuana dispensaries in the Connecticut towns of Meriden and Waterbury, meaning it will eventually have eight shops in the state.

The Hour didn’t report who the social equity licensee is or what role that individual will play in the Zen Leaf operations going forward.

Some industry stakeholders have criticized the Connecticut social equity program for allowing business permits to be controlled by large companies such as Verano, Green Thumb Industries, Acreage Holdings, and Curaleaf instead of going solely to entrepreneurs affected by the drug war.

John Schroyer

John Schroyer has been a reporter since 2006, initially with a focus on politics, and covered the 2012 Colorado campaign to legalize marijuana. He has written about the cannabis industry specifically since 2014, after being on hand for the first-ever legal cannabis sales on New Year’s Day that year in Denver. John has covered subsequent marijuana market launches in California and Illinois, has written about every aspect of the marijuana trade, and was part of the team that built the cannabis industry’s first-ever trade show, MJBizCon. He joined Green Market Report in 2022.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the latest cannabis news delivered right to your inbox

The Morning Rise

Unpack the industry with the daily cannabis newsletter for business leaders.

 Sign up

About Us

The Green Market Report focuses on the financial news of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Our target approach filters out the daily noise and does a deep dive into the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry. Our team is cultivating the industry’s critical news into one source and providing open source insights and data analysis


Recent Tweets

Get the latest cannabis news delivered right to your inbox

The Morning Rise

Unpack the industry with the daily cannabis newsletter for business leaders.