P&Z to consider extending Westport's moratorium on medical marijuana
Published 11:27 am, Thursday, October 9, 2014
The Planning and Zoning Commission next week will discuss extending a nine-month extension of the town's moratorium on accepting applications or approving permits for medical marijuana dispensaries and producers.
A 12-month moratorium, in effect since last Oct. 17, was recommended as a way to give the commission time to study the 72 pages of state regulations on producing and selling medical marijuana to determine how to deal with the issue locally.
If the extension is approved, the moratorium will be extended to July 25, 2015.
"Right now there is no urgency" to adopt local regulations, said Chip Stephens, the P&Z chairman. He said that "per state legislation" only one dispensary is allowed in each of the state's counties.
"There's one approved in Bethel," which is located in Fairfield County, Stephens noted. "So right now, there's no need" for Westport to act on the matter since another would not be allowed to open under existing state regulations, he added.
"We are watching what other towns are doing and learn as we go along," he said.
Stephens said that "some are passionate" about medical marijuana while others are "on the side of reefer madness."
While P&Z members said previously they recognize there is interest in the issue of medical marijuana, hearings and zoning subcommittee workshops on the matter have failed to draw a crowd.
Stephens said attendance at those meetings has been "close to none."
"There has been absolutely no public input, which is very surprising," he said.
At a zoning subcommittee meeting in April, Laurence Bradley, director of the town's Planning and Zoning Department, said potential locations for a medical marijuana dispensary likely would be restricted to commercial zones in town.
The moratorium extension will be on the P&Z's Oct. 16 meeting, which will take place at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.