If licensed by the state, the dispensary in Canton would be one of just a few in the state. It has been proposed for a location at 241 Albany Turnpike by Apothecary241 LLC. The planning and zoning commission will hold a hearing on the request on Feb. 19.
The state legalized medical marijuana for people suffering from cancer and other ailments in 2012 and since then has issued four licenses to grow it. William Rubensein, the state's commissioner of consumer protection, said on Thursday there are 27 applications for dispensary licenses and that three to five will be issued by the end of March.
April Arrasate, a spokeswoman for Apothecary241, said Canton was chosen because of its easy access via Route 44 and proximity to potential customers in Litchfield County. Many communities have moratoriums on medical marijuana growers and dispensaries, but Canton has zoning regulations for those businesses and that made locating in town attractive, she said.
"We looked at places where the potential population might have to drive a long distance to buy medical marijuana and Litchfield was just hanging out there," Arrasate said. "We think the state wil take location into account when they issue licenses and when we looked at places we found that Canton was progressively zoned."
Arrasate said if Apothecary241 does not receive a license to run a dispensary from the state the plan for Canton will not go forward.
State records indicate that Robert Birnbuam of Greenwich is the manager for Apothecary241 LLC. He is also chief executive officer of Curaleaf LLC, which recently received one of four licenses from the state to grow medical marijuana. Curaleaf plans to have its operation in Simsbury.
William Rubenstein, commissioner of the state Department of Consumer Protection, said a connection with a grower would not influence the state's decision on whether Apothecary241 receives a dispensary license.
"We will look at how well they serve patients and they have a safe, secure environment," he said.
The commission's hearing will be at 7:30 p.m. in the town's community center.
In addition to easy access, the Albany Turnpike location was chosen because the building's low visibility from the road should give patients some privacy, according to the application.
It is expected that the dispensary would be open six days a week but access would be tightly controlled. According to the application, a security guard will be on the premises.
Estimates of the number of patients certified to use medical marijuana have put the number as high 1,700. According to its application, Apothecary241 LLC plans to sell to patients from Hartford and Litchfield counties from the location in Canton. Rubenstein said the number of licenses for dispensaries could be increased from the three to five now planned if the number of patients warrants doing so.