P&Z Meeting to Include Public Hearing on Proposed Prohibition of Retail Pot Businesses in Greenwich

This week’s P&Z meeting will be on Wednesday, July 7, beginning at 5:00pm via zoom. (Click for link.)

On the agenda is a public hearing on a proposed Zoning Text Amendment that would prohibit the establishment of a cannabis businesses as defined by the new Public Act legalizing recreational marijuana for adults 21+, which became effective July 1, 2021.

As of July 1, 2021, adult-use recreational marijuana became legal in Connecticut. Residents over the age of 21 can legally possess and consume marijuana, but they cannot have more than 1.5 ounces of cannabis on their person, and no more than 5 ounces in their homes or locked in their car truck or glove box.

Patients participating in the state’s medical marijuana program will be permitted to cultivate up to 6 cannabis plants (3 mature, 3 immature) indoors within their homes beginning October 1, 2021. All adults age 21 and over will be permitted to grow a similar number of plants indoors within their homes beginning July 1, 2023. The law includes requirements to keep the plants secure from anyone else. Home grow of up to 6 cannabis plants is defelonized beginning July 1, 2021, and instead will result in infractions.

Per the law, local officials can control the number and locations of cannabis retailers through zoning. Municipalities can also determine where smoked or vaped cannabis can be consumed , such as in parks or beaches, or on sidewalks or streets.

In Greenwich, section 6-5(a) is proposed to be amended to prohibit the establishment of a cannabis business in town.

According to a staff report, the reason for the prohibition is concern about the conflict between state and federal law.

Specifically, Connecticut now allows such uses and federal law does not, and, according to the staff report, federal law takes precedent.

Under the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, and by definition, has a high potential for abuse and dependency, and no recognized medical use or value.

The town amendment would define cannabis as marijuana, and an establishment as “a producer, dispensary facility, cultivator, micro-cultivator, retailer, hybrid retailer, food and beverage manufacturer, product manufacturer, product packager, delivery service or transporter as defined in the June 2021 Connecticut Public Act Concerning Responsible and Equitable Regulation of Adult-Use Cannabis (Public Act 21-1, Senate Bill No. 1201) Such uses are prohibited in all zones.”

On Friday First Selectman Fred Camillo noted the decision about whether to allow businesses to sell marijuana in Greenwich was that of the Planning & Zoning commission, but he said the town planned to take a “cautious” approach.

Back in 2015 the commission approved regulations to define and prohibit Medical Marijuana Dispensaries and Production Facilities.

At the time, then P&Z director Diane Fox said towns usually put production facilities in industrial zones, which Greenwich lacks – though she said Greenwich has some non-conforming industrial facilities like Arnold Bakeries – and a square footage of 25,000 square feet was required. Also, she said, there was a serious issue of security and protection, which state legislation required a town to address. “Very heavy security. We’re talking about cameras and security systems and hours of operation,” she said. “”Banks are not willing to finance or take cash from these operations,” Fox said. “Neither are credit card companies. So cash becomes a security issue.”

Questions about the Adult-Use Cannabis program can be directed to [email protected].

Also on the agenda is a proposal for a text amendment submitted by Thurles LLC to allow second floor dining in the CGBR zone (Greenwich Ave) with the condition that the restaurant also operate on the first floor, with one shared centralized kitchen.

P&Z Watch: Text Amendment Would Allow Second Floor Dining on Greenwich Ave

And, again, Greenwich Hospital is on the agenda for its proposed Smilow Cancer Center.

See also:

P&Z Watch: Greenwich Hospital Smilow Cancer Center Should Integrate Better into the Neighborhood

June 10, 2021

P&Z Watch: Twice Shrunk, Proposed Smilow Cancer Center Faces Parking, Traffic and Sewer Hurdles

May 12, 2021