April 4, 2014 02:34PM
By Jesse Buchanan
The state Department of Consumer Protection authorized six medical marijuana dispensaries in Connecticut Thursday, but denied the application of Hancock’s Pharmacy in Meriden.
Dispensaries will be in Bristol, Hartford, Branford, Bridgeport, South Windsor and Uncasville. They’ll be able to fill marijuana prescriptions for patients suffering from debilitating diseases beginning this summer, according to the department.
Greg Hancock, owner of Hancock’s Pharmacy, said he proposed a medical marijuana pharmacy for 29 Gravel St., where the company had already planned a new building. While he didn’t receive any indication as to why his proposal was rejected, he’d heard from consumer protection officials that dispensaries can’t be within 1,000 feet of a school.
Hancock’s proposed location is about 500 feet from Maloney High School.
“I was disappointed I wasn’t chosen,” Hancock said. “We’ll see how it plays out and I’m sure we can reapply.”
Hancock’s is among 21 applications that were rejected by the department.
Consumer Protection Commissioner William Rubenstein said late last year only three to five dispensary licenses were expected. At the time, there were 900 patients who qualified for medical marijuana but a jump in that number to 1,900 within a few months convinced the department to allow a sixth dispensary.
“What we want are dispensary facilities that are going to be convenient for patients,” Rubenstein said.
Applications were screened based on security plans, location and planned contributions to local substance abuse programs. Rubenstein said there were no hard and fast rules about proximity to local schools, churches and parks but that the department wanted to know about any such places within 1,000 feet of a proposed dispensary.
Dispensaries are subject to a $5,000 annual license fee. More dispensaries will be added as the patient base grows, Rubenstein said.
Meriden was also passed over for a marijuana growing facility earlier this year. Four were approved in the state but those facilities cannot sell marijuana to patients.
A group known as Central Connecticut Health Ventures, which includes Wallingford lawyer and former town councilor and state Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell Jr., was unable to move forward with plans to open a medical marijuana manufacturing operation at the former site of the International Silver Co. on South Broad Street. Farrell had teamed up with Wallingford businessman David Smith, Cheshire resident Adam Stern, and Norton Arbelauez and John Kocer, who own a marijuana manufacturing firm in Colorado known as River Rock.
Connecticut legalized medical marijuana in 2012. Prescriptions for medical marijuana are limited to those suffering from one of 11 listed diseases, including cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, multiple sclerosis or epilepsy.