Glen Greenberg watched his mother struggle with cancer and the debilitating side effects of the aggressive treatment she was receiving.
The owner of the Owl Shop, a popular downtown gathering place where cigar afficionadoes can smoke, drink and listen to music, decided to get involved with a business that offers something to mitigate the pain of cancer and other diseases.
He is one of 73 applicants competing for one of the small number of licenses that the state will issue for additional medical marijuana dispensaries sometime this fall.
He recently got approval from the City Plan Commission to renovate the 3/4-acre property at 129 Amity Road across from the Stop & Shop Plaza, into this specialized pharmacy.
Greenberg has an option to purchase the property if he gets approval for the license from the state Consumer Protection Agency, although he said he may buy it in any event.
The Amity Road site last was used as a retail garden center and is being sold by the estate of the late Frank Perrotti Jr., who also owned 500 Blake St. in the center of Westville.
Robert Tobin of Robert L. Tobin Architect said the property currently has three buildings on it.
The plan is to raze two of those buildings and convert the 7,904-square-foot structure into a pharmacy on the ground level with offices above it.
Greenberg said he believes his mother ultimately died from the treatment that left her disfigured.
He admitted that medical marijuana is an up-and-coming business, and likely a good investment, but he said his motive is to help those who are advancing this treatment for the good of patients.
The business is strictly regulated with patients and physicians registered, while a license is needed to run a dispensary with other rules governing the growing of marijuana.
At the property, the number of parking spaces will go from 21 to 32, including four that are handicapped-accessible. The site is bound by retail property and the Wilbur Cross Parkway. Since the site empies onto a state road, Tobin said they alsoare in the process of meeting with state officials on a traffic plan.
A spokeswoman for the state Department of Consumer Protection said they put out a request for applications for additional dispensaries at the beginning of the year. She said by fall, they hope to pick between 3 and 10 new sites statewide.
Greenberg, in his site plan application to the city, said he could begin construction in July and be finished by November, if everything were to fall into place.
As of this week, the state had 26,010 patients registered to be able to purchase medical marijuana for a set number of diseases, a list that continues to grow.
The breakdown of participants by county is: 6,391 in Hartford; 6,082 in New Haven; 5,397 in Fairfield; 2,846 in New London; 1,580 in Litchfield; and 1,256 in Tolland.
There currently are nine dispensaries in Connecticut. For Greater New Haven , there are two in Milford and one in Branford.