Friday was a busy day at the state Department of Consumer Protection — it was the final day to submit applications to become a licensed medical marijuana grower or seller in Connecticut. Of the 42 submitted applications, 39 arrived on Friday, including 16 for grower licenses and 26 to open a dispensary.
But before anyone makes any assumptions about procrastination in the marijuana community, bear in mind that they only had two months to submit their paperwork and the applications were 900 pages to become a grower and 400 pages to open a dispensary.
Thomas Macre, executive director of C-Three, was among those applicants at the Department of Consumer Protection on Friday. His company was one of 16 vying for one of three licenses being made available to grow marijuana. He also is looking to obtain approval to become one of the three to five licenses being made available to dispense the product to patients. In addition to C-Three, 20 other companies are seeking a license to dispense marijuana, according to the Department of Consumer Protection. In total, 37 companies submitted one or more applications during the two month application process.
The Department of Consumer Protection will spend the next few weeks combing over the applications and expects to award the licenses in January.
In order to submit an application, companies had to pay a $25,000 fee for a production license, and a $1,000 fee for a dispensary license. They also had to secure a facility where the growing and dispensing would occur. Some towns in Connecticut have passed local zoning ordinances prohibiting these types of businesses from moving into town. Others have passed one-year moratoriums on marijuana growing and dispensing facilities.
Macre said they chose an 86,500-square-foot building on East Aurora Street in Waterbury, partially because of the reception they received from the community.
“Our philosophy is that it needs to be a partnership,” Macre said Friday in a phone interview.
Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary appeared Friday at a press conference with Macre and his team.
“The proven security model that C-Three has in place makes this project a winner for the city as well as for patients throughout the area,” O’Leary said. “As a former police chief, it’s critical to me to see every step of the process closely monitored — the level of transparency and accountability Tom Macre and his team bring to this project gives me the assurance that this is right for Waterbury.”
A production facility where the marijuana is grown indoors must have strict security measures in place including alarms, motion detectors, cameras at all entry and exit points in rooms containing marijuana, and a backup power system.
Connecticut passed legislation legalizing the palliative use of marijuana last year. The law allows people with certain debilitating illnesses to access cannabis with a doctor’s recommendation. The law, which is much stricter than it is in other states, calls for the substance to be distributed through a licensed pharmacist.
The state approved the regulations for the licenses in August. And companies like Macre’s say they can begin distributing the product to patients as early as this spring if they obtain the license in January.
As part of the application process, all employees and investors in these companies will need to go through the Department of Consumer Protection’s background check and only registered patients and caregivers will be allowed to enter a dispensary facility. The state also is requiring the marijuana to be stored in a vault. It will be sold in child-resistant packaging.
The number of patients who have received a prescription for marijuana from their doctor totals 1,309 as of Nov. 12.
That number is expected to increase once it’s possible for these patients to actually obtain the marijuana from a dispensary.