Towns approaching recreational marijuana differently 


By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer

With recreational marijuana now legal in Connecticut, towns are taking different approaches to adapt to the new law.

Under the law, which went into effect July 1, individuals 21 and older can legally possess up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana with an additional 5 ounces secured in their home or vehicle. Retail sale of recreational cannabis in Connecticut is not expected to begin until May 2022, at the earliest.

The law gives municipalities the authority to permit or prohibit cannabis businesses.

Prospect and Watertown already have taken a stand on recreational marijuana — it won’t be sold legally in those towns.

Prospect Planning and Zoning Commission voted in June to add “cannabis establishments” to the list of prohibited uses in the town’s zoning regulations. The amendment prohibits any business that produces, manufactures, dispenses or sells recreational marijuana from opening in town.

Watertown has had a provision in its zoning regulations for about seven years that prohibits the sale of recreational marijuana.

Most other area municipalities have not come up with definitive regulations yet.

Thomaston officials put a six-month moratorium on recreational marijuana facilities in place to review the law and discuss the issue. In Waterbury, the Zoning Commission is considering a moratorium for at least one year.

In Naugatuck, Zoning Commission Chairman Wayne Malicki said land use officials haven’t discussed the matter yet, but plan to at the commission’s meeting later this month.

“We’re going to discuss it at our next meeting and we’ll go from there,” Malicki said.

Malicki said he doesn’t see the borough following the steps of the Prospect Planning and Zoning Commission.

“We wouldn’t do what Prospect did, in my opinion, right now,” Malicki said.

The borough doesn’t have any zoning regulations for recreational or medical marijuana, Malicki added.

“We currently don’t have any regulations in our books for cannabis,” Zoning Enforcement Officer Ed Carter said.

Beacon Falls First Selectman Gerard Smith said he favors prohibiting cannabis establishments in town.

“I think Beacon Falls is a family community and I don’t think marijuana has any place in a family community,” Smith said. “Drugs are drugs.”

Smith plans to take a different approach to banning marijuana establishments. Instead of amending the town’s zoning regulations, Smith said officials will explore creating a new ordinance.

Smith said he isn’t looking for the Planning and Zoning Commission to take any action.

Beacon Falls Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Don Molleur said commission members haven’t discussed the topic yet but will talk about it in their regular meeting this month.

“I’m sure we’ll have a lead from Gerry on which way to go,” Molleur said.

The Republican-American contributed to this article.