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Norwich site not chosen for state medical marijuana facility

By Claire Bessette

Publication: theday.com

Published January 28. 2014 11:00AM   Updated January 29. 2014 12:09AM


The state’s first medical marijuana production facilities will be located in West Haven, Portland, Simsbury and Watertown, disappointing Norwich officials who had hoped that the city’s business park could host what they consider an innovative pharmaceutical technology.

Malloy, Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and other officials held a press conference Tuesday at the West Haven location where Advanced Grow Labs LLC already has local zoning approval for a facility.

Other facilities approved by the state are Connecticut Pharmaceutical Solutions LLC in Portland, Curaleaf, LLC in Simsbury, and Theraplant LLC in Watertown.

Vintage Foods Ltd., with an office in Ledyard, and Bloomfield-based Nascent Sciences LLC had submitted the applications for a site in the former Decorative Screen Printing building in the Norwich business park.

Norwich Mayor Deberey Hinchey said she was “very disappointed” that the two firms weren’t approved for a facility in Norwich. Hinchey and Jason Vincent, vice president of the Norwich Community Development Corp., which supported the applications, both said they held out hope Tuesday that Norwich could host a facility in the future.

“I think this industry is going to continue to evolve, and we hope Norwich will be an attractive site for future endeavors,” Vincent said.

David Kimmel of Vintage Foods, however, wasn’t optimistic that the state would grant future licenses. He said the state application process considered the firms’ ability to expand in their proposed locations as the state needs more production. He said his fledgling company will pursue other endeavors.

“We tried very hard, and we gave it our best,” Kimmel said, “and apparently the state has made its decision based on sound judgment. Unfortunately, we were not part of that decision.”

Stephen Carrabba of Nascent Sciences LLC could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The state Department of Consumer Protection’s application process anticipated three firms would be granted licenses. In Tuesday’s announcement, department officials said during the evaluation, state officials decided to grant four licenses based on the applicants’ production expectations, initial and long-term patient demand and products to be provided.

Claudette Carveth, spokeswoman for the Department of Consumer Protection, said the state regulations on medical marijuana production facilities allow for additional licenses to be granted, but none are anticipated at this time.

The consumer protection department is reviewing applications for the state’s first medical marijuana dispensary licenses. Between three and five dispensary licenses are expected to be awarded within the next two months.

Each of the four medical marijuana production firms now must establish escrow accounts with $2 million and pay annual license fee before receiving an operating license. Producers must be operational within 180 days of receiving the license.

“Connecticut’s is the first state medical marijuana program based squarely on the pharmaceutical/medical model — from physician certification, to production facilities operating as pharmaceutical manufacturers, to dispensing to patients by licensed pharmacists,” Rubenstein said in the department’s press release.

c.bessette@theday.com

 

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