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Fairfield County-Based Firms Get State OK To Produce Medical Marijuana

David Lipton, owner of Fairfield-based CT Wellness Centers and Advanced Grow Labs, was granted a license from the state Tuesday to begin a marijuana production facility in West Haven.
David Lipton, owner of Fairfield-based CT Wellness Centers and Advanced Grow Labs, was granted a license from the state Tuesday to begin a marijuana production facility in West Haven. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith, file photo

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Four companies, including two based in Fairfield County, were awarded the first contracts to produce medical marijuana in the state of Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced Tuesday.

Fairfield-based Advanced Grow Labs LLC, one of the approved companies, is owned by Westport resident David Lipton. The facility will be located in a warehouse in West Haven, however, not in Fairfield. The state made its announcement from that location.

The state also approved Curaleaf, which is based in Greenwich and is run by Greenwich resident Robert Birnbaum, 60. He is also president of the Greenwich Reformed Synagogue, according to newstimes.com . Its facility will be in Simsbury.

“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,” Malloy said. “This new law allows a doctor and a patient to decide what is in that patient’s best interest.”

Here are the companies awarded licenses:

  • Advanced Grow Labs LLC -- facility to be located in West Haven;
  • Connecticut Pharmaceutical Solutions LLC -- facility to be located in Portland;
  • Curaleaf LLC -- facility to be located in Simsbury; and
  • Theraplant LLC -- facility to be located in Watertown

Last October, Fairfield's Planning and Zoning Board denied an application from Advanced Grow Labs for a dispensary on the Post Road in Fairfield. According to reports, the West Haven Planning and Zoning Commission approved the company's plans for that town last July.

Each of the four businesses must establish $2 million escrow arrangements and pay an annual license fee before the operating license will be issued by the state Department of Consumer Protection. Producers must be operational within 180 days of licensure.

“Connecticut’s 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,” Consumer Protection Commissioner William Rubenstein said.

“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.”

With the approval for the marijuana producers, the consumer protection department can focus on selecting the dispensaries, which should be awarded in the coming months.

The state approved the use of medical marijuana bill in May 2012, limiting the purchase of the product to people with a legal prescription given to them by a licensed doctor.

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