P&Z Seeks to Prohibit Cannabis Establishments for One Year, Schedules Public Hearing

Less than three months after the passage of Connecticut’s new recreational marijuana law, Wilton’s Planning & Zoning Commission (P&Z) took its first steps at Monday night’s Sept. 13 meeting toward amending Wilton’s zoning regulations to prohibit cannabis establishments — at least temporarily — within the Town of Wilton.

In documents posted on the town website, Director of Land Use and Town Planner Michael Wrinn outlined proposed language for a zoning regulation that would prohibit all cannabis establishments in Wilton for a period of one year.

Eleven different types of cannabis establishments will eventually be licensed by the state, including retailers; cultivators (i.e., growing operations, categorized by size); food, beverage and other product manufacturers; and packaging, delivery and transport companies.

The temporary prohibition is intended to give the town a window of time to observe and evaluate the rollout of the complex law across the state and what is in Wilton’s interests to ultimately allow or prohibit.

P&Z first began to explore the topic at its Aug. 16 meeting. In a subsequent memo to P&Z, Wrinn wrote, “A temporary prohibition will allow the Commission time to investigate and study the complicated legislation and better understand the dynamics of potential impacts to Wilton and develop regulations to minimize these negative impacts to the town.”

Under the law, the Town of Wilton has the authority to regulate cannabis establishments through zoning regulations. As a matter of local control, P&Z’s authority includes allowing or prohibiting any or all of the various types of cannabis establishments in Wilton, or restricting their hours, signage or locations.

During the Sept. 13 meeting, Wrinn noted that the commission could act to change the temporary measure before the one-year timeframe. The commission could also extend it. (Other towns have put similar measures in effect for 18-24 months, according to Wrinn.)

The proposed changes in Wilton’s zoning regulations require a public hearing, which has been scheduled for Mon., Sept. 27. Details of the meeting will be posted on the town website, including a Zoom link.

Specific instructions to residents who wish to offer public comment, whether in writing or in real-time during the hearing, will be included in the public hearing notice. Generally, those instructions include sending an email to Wrinn in advance. The email must include the sender’s full name, address, and the public hearing matter of interest.