Three firms will find out next week if they are being awarded a license to grow medical marijuana in Connecticut under the state's brand new regulations.
In November, the Department of Consumer Protection received 27 producer license applications from companies based in towns across the state, including Essex, New Haven, Bloomfield and Ledyard.
In October 2012, it became legal in Connecticut to buy and sell marijuana for medicinal purposes when Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed a bill making the state the 17th in the nation to pass such legislation.
In Middletown, Fairfield-based Greenbelt Management, run by brothers Jason and Matthew Nickerson, is hoping to become one of three medical marijuana producers granted a license from the state and allowed open in a North End factory owned by the city.
Last August, Middletown's Common Council became the second municipality in Connecticut to green-light a lease for the palliative marijuana at a 15,000-square-foot grow house in the Remington Rand building.
DCP Communications Director Claudette Carveth says while growers will learn their application's fate within days, it will be a bit longer for those hoping to get dispensary licenses yet. The state is looking to complete the review of those requests by March 31.
Greenbelt Nickerson says he's poised to grow if he is issued a license. "We are also finalizing our facility design specifications down to the level of selecting door hardware and are developing a construction critical path so that we will be ready to act very quickly if we are granted a license," he says.
"According to the request for applications, a licensed production facility must be operational within 180 days of the issuance of its license," Carveth says. "Conceivably, they could begin to produce before that time."
Two years ago, the state decriminalized marijuana, making possession of less than a half-ounce of marijuana in Connecticut punishable by a ticket and a fine for those over age 21.
As of Nov. 15, the state received 16 producer license requests, two with Middletown connections among the applicants — Middletown-based Hancock Pharmacy is looking to open a dispensary in Meriden, as well as a Deep River pharmacist at Middlesex Dispensary on Newfield Street.
However, Middletown's Planning and Zoning Commission in December rejected druggist Kathy M. Kalista's request to allow pharmacies dispensing medical marijuana operate independently from grow plants like the one proposed at Remington Rand.
The total number of patients certified to fill a doctor's prescription for medical pot in Connecticut is 1,343, with the majority living in New Haven, Fairfield and Hartford counties. Middlesex County has 75 patients.
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