Commission approves moratorium

P&Z to draft regulations for methadone clinics, marijuana dispensaries

BEACON FALLS — The Planning and Zoning Commission voted last week to institute a moratorium on methadone clinics and marijuana dispensaries.

The 12-month long moratorium, which will go into effect on April 16, bans any new methadone clinic or marijuana dispensary from being built or moving into Beacon Falls while it’s in effect.

During the moratorium the commission is expected to craft zoning regulations to guide where such a clinic or dispensary can be located in town.

Since there are no current regulations on marijuana dispensaries, the commission can craft new ones, according to officials. However, since the town already allows other types of clinics, the commission can’t change the regulations to discriminate against methadone clinics.

The commission decided once the moratorium is in place it will review regulations on where all clinics can be placed. This is in an effort to prevent clinics from opening up on Main Street.

Commission Chairman Joseph Fitzpatrick also recommended the commission look into the possibility of mobile methadone clinics rather than only a brick-and-mortar building.

The commission expects to begin work on crafting regulations for clinics first. It will take up the issue of marijuana dispensaries once that is completed.

“It looks like there is a lot more work for us to do,” Fitzpatrick said.

Methadone is a synthetic opioid that is primarily used to treat addiction to heroine and other opioids. There are numerous methadone clinics in municipalities around the state, including in Waterbury and Bridgeport.

There are currently no methadone clinics in Beacon Falls.

Medical marijuana became legal in Connecticut last year. In January, the state announced four companies had been approved for a license to grow marijuana. Among the applicants approved was Theraplan LLC, which will build a growing facility in Watertown.

The moratorium in Beacon Falls would not prevent a growing facility from opening in town.

The state was expected to award licenses for dispensaries by the end of March.

Across the country, the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized in Colorado and Washington with dispensaries already operating in Colorado. The recreational use of marijuana remains illegal in Connecticut. Marijuana also remains illegal under federal law.

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