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Land Use Board to Set Date for Hearing on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Oxford, like many municipalities in Connecticut, is exploring how to handle medical marijuana dispensaries.

A company recently was approved to build a medical marijuana grow plant in Middletown. Patch archive photo
A company recently was approved to build a medical marijuana grow plant in Middletown. Patch archive photo
Editor's Note: Most of this article was written by Ron DeRosa; the Oxford information was contributed by Paul Singley. 

It has been more than a year since the state approved legislation allowing for the growing and sale of medical marijuana in Connecticut, and the question remains: Where will these prospective businesses set up shop? 

The answer: wherever local towns and cities will let them. And, with that, some local officials are looking to the state for guidance.

In Oxford, the Planning & Zoning Commission had said that it plans to impose a moratorium on medical marijuana facilities. But on this week's agenda for the regularly scheduled Planning & Zoning Commission meeting is an action item to "reschedule a public hearing on the medical marijuana dispensaries."

The Oxford P&Z meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Stephen B. Church Memorial Town Hall.

On Friday morning, the Valley Community Foundation and Valley Substance Abuse Council will hold a program to educate businesses and agencies in the Valley on the new Connecticut law authorizing the medical use of marijuana and its impact in municipalities across the state.

What do you think?

Should Oxford allow medical marijuana dispensaries if a company wants to open here? Tell your community and town officials why or why not in the comments section below.  

Recent Developments on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Connecticut

CTNewsJunkie.com reported that local planning and zoning officials gathered in Hartford last month to better understand the state's new medical marijuana laws and how they would impact local land-use regulations. 

The state said it expects to initially give out three licenses to businesses for production facilities, where the marijuana will be grown, and three-to-five licenses for dispensaries, where buyers can go and pick up the product, according to the state Department of Consumer Protection, which is regulating the industry for Connecticut.

The applications are due to the state by Nov. 15.

DCP Commissioner William Rubenstein told land use officials during the recent meeting that local zoning laws can be more stringent than regulations the state has adopted, CTNewsJunkie.com reported. Rubenstein also said the state won't dictate how the facilities are sited in Connecticut.

The state approved in late August a series of Department of Consumer Protection regulations allowing for businesses that wish to begin medical marijuana production to set up shop in the state. The entire program is outlined here, and here's a list of the finalized regulations.

Some municipalities have already taken local legislative action in response to the new laws. 

Middletown's Common Council approved in August a proposal to lease a city-owned property to a Fairfield firm looking to get into the medical marijuana production business. The state has since begun taking applications from the prospective businesses, including the one in Middletown, Greenbelt Management.

Other towns, however, have not reacted as favorably.

Shelton officials enacted last month a nine-month moratorium, saying it won't be taking any applications until next summer when it finishes creating its own medical marijuana regulations. 

Ansonia has also taken this tact, and, as CTNewsJunkie.com reported, Windham has been approached by one prospective dispensary business and is looking to the state for clarity on how best to proceed.

Oxford officials have not stated publicly whether they have been approached by a prospective dispensaries 
James Property LLC October 14, 2013 at 11:43 AM
Come on Oxford jump on the band wagon, and think of the taxes that you could be getting. And saving the residents.
Will Wilkin October 14, 2013 at 11:49 AM
Sometimes we agree, Joe. Like here.
Joe Blow October 14, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Hey Will, if it wasn't for some other business interests I have, I would be putting in application now for a grow site. Strictly business, it is a good investment opportunity for somebody.
Will Wilkin October 14, 2013 at 03:39 PM
Considering that alcohol is a much more dangerous and harmful drug, the whole idea of licensing and medicalization is absurd, just a remnant of the culture wars without any basis in the relative hazards to public health or safety.
Joe Blow October 14, 2013 at 04:10 PM
Come on Will, we all know it's about one thing and one thing only, money. I can remember back in the 70's going to score a bag of weed for my uncle who was undergoing chemo to help him keep his food down.

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