Pubdate: Wed, 29 Jan 2014
Source: New Haven Register (CT)
Page: A1
Copyright: 2014 New Haven Register
Author: Ed Stannard
Note: The Associated Press contributed to the story.


Malloy: Facilities to Bring 100 Jobs; West Haven, Portland, Simsbury,
Watertown Selected

WESTHAVEN - State officials Tuesday announced the sites of four
medical marijuana-growing facilities, which they say will serve
patients who cannot find relief from other treatments.

The companies picked were Advanced Grow Labs in West Haven;
Connecticut Pharmaceutical Solutions in Portland; Curaleaf in
Simsbury; and Theraplant in Watertown.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and state Department of Consumer Protection
Commissioner William Rubenstein made the announcement Tuesday morning.

They said the next step would be to license possibly five
dispensaries, which would be located separately from the growing
sites, and that medical marijuana would be available for patients by
this summer.

"We're talking about patients with cancer, Parkinson's disease,
multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, PTSD and other debilitating
illnesses," Malloy said at a press conference at 400 Frontage Road in
West Haven, where Advanced Grow Labs will base its marijuana growing

The law permitting prescriptions for medical marijuana covers 11
illnesses and patients will only be able to get enough for one month
at a time. Malloy said he doesn't believe health insurance will cover

"These citizens deserve compassion, not arrest. They deserve
understanding and relief, not fines and a criminal record. And they
deserve a treatment that is safe," Malloy said.

"This law allows a doctor and a patient to decide what is in the
patient's best interest. For years, I have heard stories from people
considering the benefits of medical marijuana who desperately want to
follow the law, who desperately want to follow the doctor's advice,
and who desperately want relief from the pain or debilitation from the
disease they are suffering from."

Advanced Grow Labs' CEO David Lipton said his team also was applying
to run a dispensary.

Lipton, who said he is in health care management, said the Frontage
Road building has 12,000 square feet of unused space that will be used
to grow marijuana. Security will be tight, he said, comparing it to
Fort Knox.

"It's just a very safe environment to work in, and my partners are
just very happy," Lipton said. He said he and his partners would be
investing "at least a few million dollars in investment and capital"
in a "controlled agricultural environment."

Mayor Edward O'Brien said "I think the big concerns of the residents
was security" but "it's bringing jobs, it's bringing taxes" to the

Malloy said the four producers will create about 100 new jobs in the

Retired Marine Lt. Col. Michael Zacchea said "There is some evidence
that medical marijuana is an effective treatment for post-traumatic
stress and spinal cord injuries."

He said the state has 216,000 veterans, 8 percent of the state
population, and the unemployment rate is also 8 percent.

Medical marijuana, he said, would further the goal "ultimately to help
our veterans re-enter and become productive parts of Connecticut's
workforce and to relieve any suffering they may be

Zacchaea said a third of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan
suffer from PTSD and Connecticut is "once again becoming a peer leader
among all the states in the union in setting the standard of care for
our veterans."

According to the Department of Consumer Protection, 1,684 patients
have been certified to participate in the program. The state has
received 27 applications for dispensary licenses and 16 for producer

Malloy said part of the law ensures that there be a regular
doctor-patient relationship to prevent doctor shopping.

"When we adopted the law in 2012, I wanted to make sure that we had
specific safeguards in place to ensure that we don't go down the same
path some other states have, which essentially would legalize
marijuana for anyone willing to find the right doctor to get the right
prescription," Malloy said.

Connecticut has decriminalized possession of small amounts of

Under the regulations, the producers will only be allowed to cultivate
and manufacture products containing marijuana, selling them for
wholesale purposes.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman spoke of a family experience. "Forty years ago, I
wish this had been in place when I saw an uncle of mine suffering,
trying to stay alive and ... constantly on different medications that
didn't ... help him feel good. He was able to get ahold of marijuana
and ... it helped him be able to continue to take those drugs that he
needed to stay alive."

The Associated Press contributed to the story.  
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