Winsted residents can talk about cannabis regulations

WINSTED — There were few speakers at a recent public hearing on proposed city cannabis regulations, but the public will have another chance to speak for or against them later this month.

Members of the Planning and Zoning Commission continued the hearing when they realized that the bylaw, which would create three areas of the city where cannabis retail and/or manufacturing businesses could be located, n had not been reviewed by city attorney Kevin Nelligan.

The bylaw would allow cannabis businesses in the downtown area, the North Main Street/Route 183 and Route 44 access areas, and the city’s Production and Innovation Zone which includes industrial and manufacturing buildings. The commission began reviewing the draft regulations in April.

The town center between East End Park to the east and Beardsley & Memorial Library to the west is not included in the settlement, meaning no cannabis retail stores could open in this area , home to entities such as Nutmeg Pottery, Town Hall or Kent Pizza.

According to the regulations, “No building, structure or premises shall be used and no building structure shall be constructed, rebuilt, expanded, moved or altered that is intended or designed for use as a cannabis retailer, hybrid retailer or a micro-cultivator. establishment … if it is located within 200 feet of a residential area, school or daycare building, place of worship, or playground.

State lawmakers gave final approval to the bill, “An Act Concerning Responsible and Equitable Regulation of Adult-Use Cannabis,” in June 2021, legalizing the sale and cultivation of marijuana for adults over the age of 21 years old. The legislation creates a structure for recreational marijuana markets. and eliminates criminal convictions for certain marijuana offenses. Adults are allowed to have up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana with them and up to 5 ounces in a locked container in the glove compartment or trunk of their home or car.

In May, Hearst Connecticut Media reported that more than 15,000 license applications for cannabis-related businesses had been filed with the state’s Department of Consumer Protection. Some applicants are eligible for social equity and must meet various criteria, including living in a “disproportionately affected area” and having an average income over the past three years of no more than approximately $235,000. The affected areas were determined based on past drug convictions and current unemployment rates.

Winners with and without shares will be selected in separate state-run lotteries. The Cannabis Social Equity Council will review Equity Lottery winners to ensure they meet all criteria. The state’s 18 existing medical dispensaries can apply to become hybrid retailers, without having to go through the lottery.

Some have criticized what they see as a flaw in the lottery process: there is no limit to the number of applications an individual can submit. Critics argue that this undermines the Connecticut law’s intent to create a fair market.

The non-refundable application fee for retailers is $250 for equity applicants and $500 for non-equity applicants. Some applicants likely submitted hundreds of applications each, in some cases duplicate submissions, to increase their chances of being selected. Gallman said he and his partners only submitted one application.

Andrea Comer, chair of the Social Equity Council and deputy commissioner at the state Department of Consumer Protection, said in an interview on WNPR’s Where We Live this week that between 15 and 20 applicants submitted multiple submissions.

“On the one hand, we have robust apps,” Comer said. “On the other hand, the question is whether there will be dominance among some applicants in terms of the number of applications they have submitted.”

The state plans to hold multiple lotteries, and the DCP cannot issue a license to an applicant who already has two licenses of the same type or in the same license category.

Winsted, like other cities in the state, writes bylaws and zoning ordinances to set its own rules for the retail and wholesale sale of cannabis, as well as the public use of cannabis, which designates areas where it cannot be smoked. In Torrington, the bylaw covers all smoking-related activities, including tobacco, vaping, and cannabis.

Bryan Sundie was the only speaker at the PCZ hearing this week. He objects to cannabis businesses being licensed and questioned about locations.

“I remain concerned about this, especially in the city centre,” he said.

“The Board of Selectmen has recommended that we exclude licensed businesses from East End Park to the (library) at the west end, so the whole central area has been excluded,” chairman George Closson said.

At this point, zoning official Pam Colombia said the bylaw still needs legal review. “I thought you were going to wear this for two public hearings,” she said. “If you want (a review), you should continue with the hearing…in case there is a problem. Otherwise, from a procedural point of view, we may have to do (the hearings) again.

The next public hearing will be on June 27.

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