P&Z Reviews Recreational Marijuana Regulations

Three years ago, the Planning & Zoning Commission debated medical marijuana dispensary regulations. Members received hundreds of emails and letters; public meetings were packed.

More than a year later, Bluepoint Wellness opened at 1460 Post Road East.

As of July 1, possession of cannabis is legal in Connecticut. Adults 21 and over can have up to 1.5 ounces on their person, and up to 5 ounces in their homes, or locked in their vehicle. Retail sales can begin by the end of 2022.

Recreational cannabis will be at least as controversial as medical marijuana.

Last month, the P&Z held a televised work session to address possible questions.

Next month, the commission will sponsor a text amendment that prohibits the growth, sale, storage and manufacture of cannabis products in Westport.

It includes a sunset provision — probably 18 or 24 months — during which the P&Z or Representative Town Meeting could explore what, if anything, should be permitted in Westport, permanently.

“Connecticut guidelines don’t give us a lot of time to decide right now,” explains P&Z chair Danielle Dobin.

“We don’t want to rush the conversation. We want to hear what residents say, and see what our peer towns do.

“However,  the unintended consequence of doing nothing right now could potentially be recreational sales, storage or growing facilities opening outside our control.

“Whatever happens with recreational cannabis, we want it to be intentional. That is why we will likely move quickly with a P&Z-sponsored text amendment, with a sunset provision. This will provide the necessary time for a true town-wide conversation, before a permanent regulation is adopted.

A lack of clear direction could also lead to lawsuits.

A variety of edibles.

Many Westporters — including some who use marijuana — do not want a recreational dispensary in town. Others see economic benefits, similar to liquor stores.

The Connecticut door has opened. Whether Westport wants to walk through will be a big question, in the months ahead.

The P&Z will seek input, at public hearings and by email (PandZ@westportct.gov). You can make your opinions known too right here; click “Comments” below.

7 responses to “P&Z Reviews Recreational Marijuana Regulations

  1. 1460 Post Road East- that’s a familiar address for sure.

  2. Dan you did a great job presenting Fairly this conversation on weed. Thanks for not putting your foot on the scale one way or the other! This is why I love 06880! Your Clear-eyed thoughts on controversial topics!

  3. Bill Strittmatter

    Hmmm. I’m surprised there is nothing in the proposed text amendment about where smoking in public will be allowed (or restricted) which many towns seem to be doing in addition to banning or kicking the can down the road on retail dispensaries.

  4. Donald Bergmann

    As a relevant fact, I would like to know what percentage, if any, of the taxes payable to the State go to the locality and some kind of projection, always uncertain, as to the amount of money that the locality would receive from sales. It may well have already been addressed by the P&Z Commission.
    Don Bergmann

  5. Three taxes on the sale of marijuana products:
    Connecticut sales tax: 6.35%
    A tax based on the THC content of the product: 10 to 15%
    Municipality tax: 3%

    There are projections for how much municipalities as a whole will receive, but I don’t know of any for individual municipalities. I imagine it is near impossible to calculate until the number and location of dispensaries are known.

  6. What should be of major concern is that there is still no reliable or accurate standardized roadside sobriety test available for recreational marijuana, as there is for alcohol.
    Until there are regulations in place that protect sober citizens on the road, this will continue to feel like a state mandated tax grab.

  7. Leslie Petersen

    As a resident with medical issues and a Ct. permit to purchase in Westport, I must say that I am eagerly awaiting the ability to grow our own pot in our back yards, next to our vegetables! How can this be wrong? Organic all the way.

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