BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH)-- Earlier this week the final regulations for growing medical marijuana in Connecticut had been approved. Now, there's a first and exclusive look at how it's going to be done.
The State Consumer Protection Commissioner, whose department will regulate medical marijuana, says he expects many applicants for the three to as many as ten permits to grow that will be issued.
Joe Palmieri, whose family has been in the growing business for decades in Connecticut, thinks he has the winning system.
It looks like a typical metal cargo container you might see being off-loaded from a ship in New Haven Harbor. But to the businessman that developed it, it's the best way to meet the expected demand for medical marijuana under the new state law that is now officially on the books.
Inside it's a perfect growing day, 24 hours a day, everyday.
These tomato plants are just eighteen days old. With computer contolled feeding and watering, the pod does not need to be opened so the plants don't need to be tended.
Monitored by a camera, marijuana plants can grow to harvest size in 90 to 100 days.
He knows it works because he grew these specimens in a similar pod in Colorado, where it is already legal.
"The neat thing about the pod design that we have, is that we can expand it to meet the market needs. Right now, this one pod that have is set on the basis of the one thousand people that are out there," said Joe Palmieri, Palmieri Farms.
That's the approximate number the State Consumer Protection Commissioner told lawmakers has applied so far, with many more expected.
The commissioner also said that the rules on growers have two primary goals.
"One; reducing the risk of theft or diversion of marijuana and two; insuring an unadulterated supply of medical marijuana for patients," said Cmsr. William Rubenstein, Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection.
Palmieri says he plans a packaging facility right where the stuff is grown and that security will be like Fort Knox.
"This can be bolted down, locked up tight and it's safe and secure inside," said Palmieri.
Initially, he says, five to ten employees will be needed, if the number of patients grows as expected as many as 75 employees over the next five years.
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