CROMWELL – Municipal leaders are poised to discuss a possible yearlong moratorium on the sale of cannabis in town to allow officials to research the issue in depth in order to make an informed decision.
Town Manager Anthony Salvatore is culling information and data related to the issue so he can present a recommendation at the meeting Wednesday night, he said. It’s up to council members whether they’ll take action that evening or consider the matter in future sessions.
In a recent Facebook post, Councilman James Demetriades asked the public to submit opinions and other feedback on the proposal by Wednesday. He’s also fielding opinions on the idea of prohibiting the smoking of marijuana and tobacco on public property.
“If you don’t do a moratorium … then planning and zoning will decide whether and where activity may be permissible under state law,” Salvatore said.
Although the governor signed legislation making recreational cannabis use legal in Connecticut in July, retail sales will likely will not be allowed until at least the end of 2022.
If the council were to decide to allow marijuana sales, the zoning board would write up a land use regulation that would permit in what zone and what type of restrictions would be in place for businesses, Salvatore said.
Under the bill, a municipality must hold a referendum on whether to allow certain cannabis sales if at least 10 percent of its electors petition for such a vote at least 60 days before a regular election, according to state statute.
Existing law allows municipalities to regulate activities deemed harmful to public health, including smoking, on town-owned property. The bill broadens this to include property that a municipality controls but does not own, the provision reads.
The board also will take up whether to ban the smoking and consumption of cannabis on public property, which is part of the statute.
“It’s a novel issue. This is a new one, and we want to get it right,” Demetriades said. “Since this is such a new discussion point, we want to gauge where members of the public are at.”
Several communities in Connecticut have enacted bans, most of them temporary.
Guilford, Madison and North Branford recently put in place measures that stop cannabis establishments from opening for nine months to a year from now, and Clinton has made it unlawful for any building, structure or land to be used as a cannabis establishment, producer, retailer or dispensary.
In August, Middletown Planning and Zoning commissioners approved the cultivation and sale of marijuana as well as retail sales.
If Cromwell does not issue a moratorium on the sale of marijuana, Demetriades explained on social media, such enterprises would operate much like liquor stores and would need to obtain a permit from the PZC.
The meeting will be held in at Town Hall at 7 p.m. To view the agenda, visit cromwellct.com.