Pubdate: Thu, 27 Jun 2013
Source: Hartford Courant (CT)
Copyright: 2013 The Hartford Courant
Author: Shawn R. Beals


MIDDLETOWN -- The common council this summer is scheduled to consider
signing a lease for a space in the city-owned Remington Rand building
with a medical marijuana grower.

Greenbelt Management has a plan to build a 15,000 square-foot
production facility on the second floor of Remington Rand. Greenbelt
is working with Colorado-based Denver Relief Consulting and was formed
last year to explore medical marijuana in Connecticut following state
legislation allowing its sale and production.

Planning Director William Warner said the facility on the second floor
of the building will be for production and packaging only -- not for
sale or distribution.

"When it really comes down to it, this is about the legal production
of a product," Warner said of the lease.

The lease was endorsed by the council's economic development committee
earlier this month. Greenbelt would have a five-year renewable lease
for $4 per square foot, or $60,000 a year. The lease includes a
$25,000 non-refundable deposit.

The council was expected to consider a lease at its July 1 meeting,
but the planning department delayed the lease to provide time for
further review by city attorneys and for more review of security
plans. Warner said he would present an updated plan to the economic
development committee for another vote at a future meeting.

Jason Nickerson, who founded Greenbelt with his brother Matthew
Nickerson, said his team's goal is "starting with a small, readily
manageable operation that would be poised to grow with the market."

Nickerson said the brothers, New Hartford natives, found the Remington
Rand building searching for commercial retail space online. He said
they like Middletown's central location in the state and said
participating in the re-use of a former industrial building has been a
long-standing goal.

He said the facility as planned now would need five to seven full-time
employees and could produce 50 to 65 pounds of medical marijuana a

As a part of the law approved in May 2012, Connecticut may have
between three and 10 marijuana producers once regulations are written
by the state Department of Consumer Protection and approved by a group
of state legislators.

Separately, the marijuana will be sold at dispensaries, the number of
which is up to Commissioner of Consumer Protection William M. Rubenstein.

As of last week, 660 patients have been certified by doctors and 450
of those are registered with the state Department of Consumer
Protection, while the remaining 210 are in the registration process.

The state has not yet begun licensing growers or dispensers, but could
begin accepting applications in August if the Department of Consumer
Protection regulations are approved. Applicants must be able to put $2
million in escrow with the state and must be able to show the
immediate capability to start growing operations.

Mayor Daniel Drew said Greenbelt approached the city recently looking
for a place to house its growing operation. He said with the state
just entering into the medical marijuana industry, sufficient study is

"The bottom line here is this is legal now in Connecticut and it's a
reality here and in many other places," Drew said. "We're not going to
turn away an opportunity for economic development without exploring it
in detail. Our analysis at this point is there are no major
consequences but we're doing our due diligence to be sure we fully
understand all the implications involved."

Greenbelt expects to present a hefty security plan to the economic
development committee and the common council in the next two months.

An eight-page plan provided by Greenbelt outlines materials used for
doors, safes and locks and outlines plans for alarms, lighting,
24-hour surveillance and details procedures for storage,
transportation and restricted access.
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