The Day – Stonington commission to call for 6 month moratorium on cannabis businesses

Stonington – The Planning and Zoning Commission agreed on Tuesday to seek to enact a 6-month moratorium on accepting applications from anyone wishing to operate a cannabis business in town.

The moratorium will give city planner Keith Brynes the opportunity to write a draft bylaw and research rules in communities with similar characteristics to Stonington, such as those on the Massachusetts coast. Some communities in Connecticut have already passed moratoriums to give them time to write bylaws.

But since it will take until early March for the commission to hold a public hearing and adopt a moratorium, if someone files an application to open a cannabis business in town before then, the commission will have to accept the application and process a marijuana retailer or production facility like a similar business in town, such as a liquor or retail store.

Brynes said while there has been interest, he is not aware of anyone willing to apply.

According to the state law that legalized the recreational use of marijuana and took effect July 1, municipalities had the discretion to allow or ban cannabis businesses within their borders. , as well as regulating the signs and opening hours of these businesses. In October, residents of Stonington voted 2,106 to 1,816 to allow cannabis businesses in town.

The law allows one retailer and one retail producer for every 25,000 residents, meaning the City and Borough of Stonington can each have one producer and one retailer. Cities can also implement a 3% tax on marijuana sales.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Brynes offered the commission several potential options for consideration on how to regulate marijuana businesses. He told the commission that a marijuana retailer would have a greater impact on the community than a grower or producer.

The first option would allow by special permit a marijuana store in all commercial areas where liquor sales and retail sales are permitted.

The second option, which met with some initial support from commission members, would allow the opening of a marijuana store by special permit in the tourist trade area around the Exit 90 freeway interchange in Mystic and the highway industrial area on route 2 near exit 92 in Pawcatuck. Both of these locations would provide easy access to Interstate 95, especially for residents of nearby Rhode Island, where recreational marijuana has not been legalized.

A third option would allow marijuana retail in industrial areas, which are scattered across the city with a few bordering residential areas.

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Aurora J. William