Kidville Closes: Collateral Medical Marijuana Dispensary Damage

Kidville is a chain of activity centers for newborns through 6-year-olds. There are classes in music and dance, gym, art, enrichment and more; birthday parties, and an indoor play space.

The Westport location is 1572 Post Road East — just past ASF.

At least, it will be until June 30. Today, the “Westport Kidville Team” sent out this notice:

As many of you may have heard, Kidville Westport has recently been brought into the current debate and public hearing discussions surrounding a medical marijuana dispensary’s application to open on Post Road East near our Westport location. [The site is the former DXL men’s store — and before that, Blockbuster — across and down the street.]

Members of the community contacted the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood in an effort to classify Kidville Westport as a “school,” which would prevent the dispensary from opening. This resulted in a visit from the state inspector.

Unfortunately, the COEC informed us that Kidville Westport does not meet the requirements to continue running our current early childhood curriculum.

We immediately endeavored to do whatever we could to meet those requirements, which would require us to be classified as a “Group Childcare Home” and restructure our space. Unfortunately, we have learned from our landlord that our location is not eligible to be classified as “Group Childcare Home.”

Therefore, with a heavy heart we inform you that due to the current limitations of the space and pressure from the State of Connecticut, we have no choice but to close the Kidville Westport location effective June 30.

Thank you for being such a warm and embracing community — you have made Kidville a truly special place for all of us. From first steps taken, new friendships made in classes, birthday celebrations, rockin’ out in Rockin’ Railroad, and artistic creations proudly brought home, it has been a great honor to share in these moments.

Effective Friday, June 15, all memberships will be cancelled, and any camp payments and birthday party deposits will be refunded in full with no further billing charges processed. Should you have any questions, please contact us at mayor.westport@mykidville.com and a member of the team will be happy to assist you.

We will miss you all.

(Hat tip: Anne Bernier)

20 responses to “Kidville Closes: Collateral Medical Marijuana Dispensary Damage

  1. Well that sure backfired…

  2. Not sure the headline here is fair. This does not seem like collateral damage from the dispensary, but direct and self-inflicted damage from not being authorized to operate as they were to begin with.

    • John F. Suggs

      I agree with Peter’s take on the misleading headline. The medical marijuana dispensary had nothing to do with this unexpected and unintended outcome. But it does point directly to the heart of the hubris of the folks who sought to deny terminally ill people easy access to their medication by attempting to aggrandize the importance of Kidville and seeking to anoint it with special “school status” when it turns out it wasn’t even eligible to provide the very child services it was attempting to provide. Somewhere I envision a terminally ill person is smiling at the poetic comeuppance of hypocritical neighbors who sought to hide their blatant and rather self-centered NIMBYISM behind the now bankrupt construct of Kidsville. Which, it turns out, is not only not a “school” but it is not even “street legal” as a Group Childcare Home. Maybe now we can do the right thing and provide at least one medical marijuana dispensary to members of our community who desperately have need it.

      • Love this comment. You are spot on

      • Michele Harding

        Well said John!

      • Caroline Statts

        Any good leader should be able to see all sides to a story. Medical marijuana, as we all know, is used plenty for “non-medical” purposes. In a town that already experiences double the drug abuse of the average American town, it would benefit us all to see this is a genuine dilemma for a town where people have authentic, conflicting concerns.

        • Caroline,
          Could you provide your source for the statistic that Westport has double the drug abuse of the average American town?
          I’ve researched, but I can’t find anything that says we have a high rate here. I did learn we haven’t had any opioid deaths, thank God.

          Of course, the drug abuse problem in this country isn’t marijuana. It’s oxycontin, fentanyl, heroin … opioids. It’s also alcohol. Both drugs kill.

          Marijuana isn’t usually addictive. Between 9% and 17% of all users can become dependent on it (with or without addiction). But, even then, marijuana has never caused a single death.
          Compare that with 88,000 deaths from alcohol and 63,000 deaths from prescription drug overdoses – per year – and you’ll see that the danger isn’t in medical marijuana dispensaries, but in liquor stores and medicine cabinets.

  3. How incredibly ironic.
    The frenzy to keep a medical marijuana dispensary from opening in Westport has meddled to the point that it may have ENSURED a location for a medical marijuana dispensary.
    But so sorry for Kidville, who innocently got caught in the battle … and for the parents and children who relied on it. What a shame.
    Emphasis on the word “shame”.

    • P.S. John Suggs said it best, above.
      (And I, too, thought the headline meant that a dispensary had caused the closing when, in fact, it was those who oppose the dispensary that caused the scrutiny that lead to the closing.)

  4. Cannabis businesses are regulated and cannot open within 1000 feet of any school or parks where children play.
    If a cannabis business id qlready established how can schools and activity center for children open within 1000 feet of a caanbis business?
    Where is equal protection by law we so proudly tell other countries we have?
    Without equality,equal rights.equal justice and equal taxes there is no freedom.

  5. Well I was at the Town Hall for one of these meetings. The people who objected to the dispensary brought this on themselves. They must be so proud. They only ended up hurting themselves.

  6. “Members of the community contacted the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood in an effort to classify Kidville Westport as a “school,” which would prevent the dispensary from opening.”

    Am I understanding this correctly? These people made the classification request without the knowledge or involvement of the Kidville owners? Wow.

    Did they ever stop to think about what the impact of their actions might be? This is someone’s business, their livelihood. One could say it’s the owner’s fault for not knowing the requirements and limitations of their current space, but the myriad of requirements – Fed, state, local – can be difficult for small business owners to understand and navigate.

    From the outset of these discussions I have been surprised and saddened by the lack of empathy opponents of the dispensaries have shown for the patients they would serve. Now I see this and I’m shaking my head in disbelief.

  7. That is insanity, how can rational people come to forcing this to happen

  8. This is a deceiving headline. After reading this article it seems that Kidville did not have the proper licensing

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  9. Michael Calise

    Something doesn’t fit here. There has to be more to this story. Landlords do not make decisions as to what use their properties qualify. Local Zoning, State regulations and enforcement make those determinations as well as professional licensing laws and regulations. I see possible lawsuits coming.

  10. What a Tempest in a Teapot!

  11. After moving to town four years ago, we have spent more hours than I can possible count with our two youngest children at Kidville Westport. I am heartbroken that a place so dear to so many families in Westport is closing. How incredibly ironic and despicable that those railing against a medical marijuana dispensary under the guise of keeping our community family-friendly just cost us one of the gems that actually made our town more family-friendly! I hope the community members, officials, and candidates for office that have been working against these dispensaries reconsider the unnecessary damage they are doing here in Westport in their efforts to “save” and “preserve” our community.

    • I completely agree with you Lisa and am reminded of that famous quote during the Vietnam Was attributed to an unnamed U.S. officer by AP Correspondent Peter Arnett in his writing about Bến Tre city on 7 February 1968: ‘It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.” In subsequent publications it eventually becoming the more familiar, “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”

      In our case it would go something like this:

      “In order to protect our children from encountering terminally ill patients purchasing medical marijuana, we had to destroy Kidville.”

      Or

      “We had to destroy Kidville in order to save our kids.”

  12. Don L. Bergmann

    To me, this also evidences an justified lack of confidence in our fine P&Z Commission. Westport adopted a land use regulation that allows for up to two medical marijuana dispensaries in certain areas of Westport. That was done to control locations and pertains to the several dispensary applications now pending before the Commission. The opponents of such dispensaries, many of whom were rude during the public hearings, sought to force the Commission to reject sites based upon certain aspects of the possible sites. Those rude people and many others ignored the fact that the Commission has discretion as to siting and that the Commission will make the best decision for Westport. Tonight, Thursday, the Commission is expected to vote on the dispensary issue. They could support one, two or none. I am almost 100% certain they will not vote for two. While I hope they approve one, I know the Commission will do its job responsibly and with sensitivity. If the Commission selects one location, that selection will reflect many factors. The Commission will do what they believe is best for Westport. The effort to demand a rejection of the site near Kidville by this effort to force a State review of Kidville would most likely never have been needed.
    Don Bergmann

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