HARTFORD — When the smoke cleared in the state Department of Consumer Protection on Friday, 21 prospective growers and 16 dispensers had made their pitches to start the state’s budding medical marijuana industry.
Now the agency will spend at least the next few months culling through the proposals, which include multiple plans totaling 26 dispensary locations.
“The department intends to award three producer licenses and between three and five dispensary facility licenses by early 2014. These license awards will be publicly announced,” said Consumer Protection spokeswoman Claudette Carveth.
While the names and locations of various interests were released by Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein late Friday afternoon, it doesn’t necessarily mean the proposed growing and dispensing facilities would be located there.
For instance, D&B Wellness LLC of Monroe is located on Main Street in that town, but a one-year moratorium on marijuana-related businesses would preclude a location there, should the business win one of the dispensary licenses.
Another dispensary proposal by Thomas A. Macre of Racebrook Road in Orange could be prevented in that town, which is also considering a moratorium.
But overall, businesses throughout the state, from Greenwich to Hartford and Bridgeport to Barkhamsted, delivered their proposals.
David Lipton, president of Connecticut Wellness Centers LLC of Fairfield, whose proposal for a dispensary was recently rejected by elected town planners, said Friday he has dispensary proposals for Hartford and New Haven county towns that he declines to reveal — at this point.
“We just spent pretty much most nights for the last two months working tirelessly on our applications,” said Lipton, whose grow facility plan was approved for a West Haven site during the summer.
“It has been a very intense period of collaboration,” Lipton said after Rubenstein’s office released the names of applicants. “It was really like a big puzzle, from legal and accounting documents, to answers to specific questions from the department.”
He described the application requirements as detailed, but fair.
“It was a great process, because for any group that was serious about doing this and monitoring their production facilities, you have to write every line for themselves,” Lipton said in a phone interview Friday night.
Growers have to be able to put up $2 million in an escrow account to ensure performance, plus a $25,000 non-returnable application fee, then remit a $75,000 license fee if they are selected.
Joseph Palmieri, of Easton, who wants to use a vacant building in Bridgeport’s West End as a grow facility, said Friday it was a relief finally submitting his proposal to the department.
Palmieri said he had expected 20 competing growers.
“I’m confident of the application I handed in,” said Palmieri, an environmental contractor and third-generation farmer.
He did not propose a dispensary, but if he wins a grow license, he would possibly pursue a dispensary later.
“These are long applications,” he said, stressing that Consumer Protection officials will have a lot on their hands over the next couple of months.
“The department will begin a confidential application review process immediately,” Carveth said. “The review process will continue until license award determinations have been made.”
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