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Connecticut consumer chief selects 6 medical marijuana dispensaries expected to open in summer


HARTFORD, Connecticut — Locations for Connecticut's six medical marijuana dispensaries have been selected, the state Consumer Protection Commissioner said Thursday.

The facilities in Branford, Bridgeport, Bristol, Hartford, South Windsor and Uncasville were authorized by the state's medical marijuana program to dispense Connecticut-produced marijuana products.

Recipients must be seriously ill patients who have been certified by their doctors as potentially benefiting from the use of medical marijuana and who have registered with the state's medical marijuana program. Backers of the law, which was enacted in 2012, say it will help people who have cancer, Parkinson's disease, AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder and other debilitating conditions.

The Department of Consumer Protections drafted regulations last year that state lawmakers approved.

"With the selection of dispensary facilities, all necessary pieces of the medical marijuana program are in place and we are poised to provide patients with a safe and secure source of needed medicine," Rubenstein said.

The dispensaries will be the "public face" of Connecticut's medical marijuana program and careful thought and deliberation went into selecting the most qualified applicants, he said.

Angela D'Amico and her partner Karen Barski, a registered nurse, have won approval to operate D&B Wellness in Bridgeport. The new venture is the "second half of our lives," she said.

D'Amico, 56, said she took an interest in medical marijuana from her son, a pre-med student, who told her about the medicinal value of marijuana. Her mother died of cancer.

An art publisher who said she has degrees in business and marketing, she researched medical marijuana and businesses that sell it in Colorado and California.

"For us, we're changing the world," she said. "We're making history here."

Four marijuana producers were licensed in January. Rubenstein says the producers and dispensaries were chosen through a competitive process.

The dispensaries may receive licenses after paying a $5,000 fee and submitting final documents. They are expected to be ready to open when marijuana products are available this summer.

Connecticut's medical marijuana program is the first state system based on the pharmaceutical and medical model, including physician certification, production facilities operating as pharmaceutical manufacturers and dispensing to patients by licensed pharmacists.

In addition to D&B Wellness, businesses chosen are Bluepoint Apothecary in Branford, the Healing Corner Inc. in Bristol, Arrow Alternative Care Inc. in Hartford, Prime Wellness of Connecticut in South Windsor and Thames Valley Apothecary in Uncasville.

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