State chooses four medical marijuana producers
The state has chosen four applicants as the first-ever producers of medical marijuana to serve the needs of seriously ill patients in Connecticut.
Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein, joined by Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman and other officials, made the announcement Tuesday. West Haven Mayor Edward M. O’Brien was present for Tuesday’s announcement, at vacant industrial space at 400 Frontage Road in West Haven.
“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,” Commissioner Rubenstein said. “Today we have selected four producers that embrace that clear vision and who will create state-of-the-art production facilities capable of assuring that pharmaceutical-grade marijuana in a variety of dosage forms is available to seriously ill patients whose doctors believe that this medicine is appropriate for them.”
The Commissioner announced the four successful producer applicants, which were chosen in a competitive application process from a total pool of 16 applicants. They are:
• Advanced Grow Labs, LLC -- facility to be located in West Haven
• Connecticut Pharmaceutical Solutions, LLC -- facility to be located in Portland
• Curaleaf, LLC -- facility to be located in Simsbury
• Theraplant, LLC -- facility to be located in Watertown
“For years, I have heard stories from people considering the palliative use of marijuana to relieve their pain from a debilitating disease or illness, but who want to follow the law. This new law allows a doctor and a patient to decide what is in that patient’s best interest,” Gov. Malloy said. “We are carefully implementing this program with a number of safeguards in place to ensure that we avoid some of the problems encountered in other states. But let’s be clear, patients in these circumstances deserve our compassion and understanding, not arrest and criminal records.”
As required, each of the four businesses now must establish escrow arrangements in the amount of $2 million, and pay their annual license fee, at which time their operating license will be issued by the Department. Producers must be operational within 180 days of licensure. Additional information about the licensed producers will be made available in the near future.
The Department’s Request for Applications announced that the award of three producer licenses was anticipated, but the RFA also provided that the Department may award additional licenses. During its evaluation, the Department took into account a variety of factors – including the applicants’ expectations of initial and long-term patient demand, initial and phased expansion of production capacities, production roll-out timetables and anticipated product mixes -- and determined that patients would be better assured a reliable and steady source of pharmaceutical grade marijuana by licensing four producers.
Selection of the growing operations is a major step in the implementation of Connecticut General Statutes Chapter 420f, which provides for the palliative use of marijuana for patients suffering from one of 11 specific debilitating illnesses, whose doctors believe that such treatment is appropriate.
Since passage of the landmark legislation in 2012, the Department has implemented an online patient, physician and caregiver registration system, sought and acquired passage of detailed regulations to implement the program’s operation, and launched the competitive selection process for the state’s medical marijuana production and dispensing system.
The entities selected for producer licenses were chosen on a competitive basis after a detailed and thorough review of the applications submitted by 16 applicants hoping to be awarded these licenses. The applications, each containing 700 to more than 1,000 pages, provided detailed information about applicants’ financial ability, relevant experience, location and site plan, and production, security, safety, business and marketing protocols. Applications also included any plans to enhance the working environment of employees, provide a compassionate need program, engage in or fund scientific research, give back to the community, prevent substance abuse and operate in environmentally beneficial ways.
With the producers now selected, the Department will continue its competitive selection process for the state’s first medical marijuana dispensary facility licenses. Between three and five of these licenses are expected to be awarded within the next two months.