After two years of temporary measures, Wilton’s Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) will weigh a permanent ban on cannabis establishments next month. A proposed text amendment to the town’s zoning regulations has been drafted that would codify the prohibition and a public hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 10.
In July 2021, the Connecticut Legislature legalized the recreational use, sales, and cultivation of marijuana throughout the state but deferred to local communities on whether to prohibit or allow cannabis businesses. Since then, Wilton has grappled with how to regulate the industry. In the fall of 2021 and then again in 2022, Wilton’s P&Z opted for a one-year moratorium to allow more time to gather data on the impact of cannabis establishments in nearby towns.
However, that data has proven scarce; so far, only Stamford and Danbury have businesses up and running. The one-year moratorium approved in September 2022 is now set to expire in a few weeks, leaving the Commission with a choice of extending the temporary prohibition for a third year or taking formal action.
In a memo and presentation to the Commission during its Tuesday, Sept. 26 meeting, Town Planner Michael Wrinn outlined the regulatory landscape in neighboring communities. So far, he said, New Canaan, Weston, Newtown, Ridgefield, and Greenwich have all prohibited cannabis establishments, and Westport allows only medical use businesses. In addition to Stamford and Danbury, Norwalk passed a regulatory change to allow the industry to operate. It has since approved three cannabis businesses, one of which will be located near the Wilton border at 430 Main Ave. However, none of the three are in operation yet.
“We don’t have much data on impact,” Wrinn explained. “And so most towns have taken a position that, until we see what we’re actually going to get out of these, we’re going to prohibit it.”
A potential ban would prohibit the following types of cannabis businesses: a producer, dispensary facility, cultivator, micro-cultivator, retailer, hybrid retailer, food and beverage manufacturer, product manufacturer, product packager, delivery service, or transporter.
P&Z will hold a public hearing on the proposed regulation prohibiting cannabis establishments during the Commission’s next meeting (Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 7 p.m.).
CORRECTION: An earlier version of the story incorrectly identified the dispensary at 430 Main Ave. in Norwalk as one that would offer drive-thru service. It will not.