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Monday, May 15, 2017

P&Z to Hear Medical Marijuana Amendment Thursday

Westport’s Planning & Zoning Commission (P&Z) on Thursday will hear a text amendment to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in commercial districts.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall Auditorium.

The topic has been on the P&Z’s agenda since 2013, and the commission has since extended a moratorium on making such a decision.

Text amendment 735 carries the provision that such a dispensary be located 1,000 feet away from protected areas, including schools, day care centers, parks, public buildings and houses of worship.

According to P&Z Director Mary Young, all medical marijuana dispensaries are regulated by the state’s Department of Consumer Protection and regulations stipulate that only active, licensed pharmacists may apply for a dispensary license.

The state also requires such facilities have security systems, that they restrict advertising and that they monitor operations and production facilities.

The full text of the amendment can be viewed HERE. Copies of the amendment are available in the Planning and Zoning Department and in the Town Clerk’s office.

Young said that commission can receive written comments from the public in advance of the hearing, and that once the hearing is closed, no more information or comments will be accepted.

The town has had a moratorium on the matter for four years, and in January the P&Z extended a mortaorium on a similar text amendment, 726, another four months.

At the January meeting two Westport residents who use medical marijuana made impassioned pleas to end the moratorium. (See WestportNow Jan. 20, 2017)

Robert Lewis was one of them. He said he has Crohn’s disease and that having the ability to buy medical marijuana in the state has been a “dream come true.”

Having a dispensary in Westport would not only make his life easier but would be a boon to the community, he said.

After discussions with Young, the commission voted unanimously to decrease the moratorium time from six to four months.

“We had to extend it for technical reasons, but it is 99 percent finished, and we should have a workable regulation in place very shortly,” P&Z Chairwoman Catherine Walsh said at the time.

The town has been evaluating how such dispensaries are working in other communities, including the closest one in Bethel.

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Posted 05/15/17 at 09:14 PM  Permalink



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