Gov. Dannel Malloy, joined by Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, announced Tuesday morning that four applicants have been chosen as the first-ever producers of medical marijuana to serve the needs of seriously ill people in Connecticut.
"Connecticut 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 a statement. "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 four were chosen in a competitive application process from a total of 16 applicants. The four that were chosen are:
"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," Malloy said in a statement. "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."
According to state officials, there are more than 1,600 patients in Connecticut who qualify for medical marijuana.
"I'm sure it's going to put some people to work, so that's a good thing," said John Opocecki, of Portland.
State officials said the four growers will create about 100 jobs and must be up and running within six months.
They must now 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.
The next step is dispensary facilities. The state said 27 different places have applied to do that. It will decide on five places by April.
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