A “cultivation group” is looking at Simsbury locations for a potential Medical Marijuana production facility.
Oncology nurse and advocate Eileen Konieczny appeared before the town’s zoning commission Monday night to speak about medical marijuana, the state’s law regulating its production and distribution and the potential for a Simsbury location.
Konieczny has served as an oncology nurse for more than 20 years, has extensively researched medicinal cannabis and is involved in several cannabis advocacy, business and nursing organizations. She describes herself as medical liaison for the cultivation investment group.
Working with Rich Correia of RM Bradley, the group is looking at Simsbury locations that range from 40,000 to 100,000 square feet.
The group, whose investors were not yet named, hopes to be one of three initial producers approved by the state of Connecticut under its 2012 "An Act Concerning The Palliative Use Of Marijuana." The state applications are due in mid November.
In order to potentially locate in Simsbury, the town would also have to update its zoning regulations for such facilities. Hiram Peck, the town’s Director of Community Planning & Development, said there is a draft motion that the Zoning Commission brought to a public hearing that was never closed. The commission could potentially put it on the agenda in two weeks, he said.
As she appeared informally before the commission Monday, Konieczny talked about the strictness of Connecticut’s law, the high level of security that would be required of a facility, her philosophy and more.
The production facility would produce medicinal marijuana that would be sealed and packaged, such as in pills, and distributed to dispensaries for approved patients that have one of 12 debilitating medical conditions, Konieczny said.
An exciting aspect of the law is the potential for a great medicinal product, she said. Cannabis has an extensive medicinal history and it’s only in more recent years that it’s been bread to maximize the "high" caused by THC, Konieczny said. However, there are numerous other “cannabinoids,” that have proven and potential medicinal value, she added.
“The recreational user of cannabis is not going to like what’s going to come out of these dispensaries,” she said.
Correia said the medical value is the reason he wants to work with the group. The economic benefit would also be great, he said.
Konieczny told the commission the facility would employ two to three dozen initially, likely more than 100 within a few years and have $4 to $6 million in equipment. The operation would be extensive, she said and include research, growing the plants, packaging and much more. The group is also very committed to green energy, she said.
Konieczny said she is very appreciative of the strictness and safeguards of the law, and the fact that a pharmacist will be required at the dispensaries.
“Having a pharmacist in this model adds a layer of legitimacy,” she said.
Konieczny said she is passionate about the topic because she’s seen too many patients suffer when medicinal marijuana could help greatly. She’s lost her own mother and sister to cancer.
“When you see that medical cannabis can probably change the world, you don’t stop talking,” she said.
Learn more about the philosophy at http://olives-branch.com/
Details on the state program can be found here.