37 Dispensary, Cultivation Applicants in Connecticut

Several dozen entrepreneurs have applied to open medical marijuana dispensaries or cultivation sites in Connecticut.

Sixteen groups applied for dispensary licenses and 21 for cultivation permits by last Friday’s deadline, according to the state Department of Consumer Protection.

Connecticut will award between three and five dispensary licenses and three cultivation permits, so most applicants will ultimately fail to move forward.

And they’ll be out a significant sum of money, to boot. Entrepreneurs seeking producer licenses had to pay a $25,000 non-refundable application fee, while dispensary applicants had to pay $1,000 to throw their hat in the ring.

The costs escalate dramatically going forward. Cultivation finalists will have to fork over another $75,000 to actually get their licenses, while dispensaries will have to pay $5,000.

These hefty financial requirements limited the number of applications and ensured only well-funded, serious entrepreneurs applied.

Based on the application fee, the state has already made netted more than $525,000 off the medical marijuana program.

Connecticut officials will now vet all the proposals before making final decisions and publicly announcing the finalists in early 2014.

The overall market will be small, at least initially.

The state has just 1,309 registered MMJ patients, though there could be a wave of new sign-ups when dispensaries actually start opening. At the current patient count, the Connecticut market would total an estimated $2 million.