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Is Marijuana Retail Right For Your Municipality?

The Town Council of Clinton chose to adopt an Ordinance that would prohibit a dispensary in Town after a Public Hearing was held by the Planning and Zoning Commission. It was apparent from the testimony at the Public Hearing, not only from the public but also from members of the Planning and Zoning Commission, that a regulation change to allow a dispensary did not have sufficient support to move forward. There was talk of a moratorium, but that would not prohibit an application from being submitted to request the opening of a location in Town during this time. The input from Partners in Community also played a major role in the decision-making process as they were able to provide information as it related to drugs, alcohol and vaping trends and usage among the youth in our community. It began apparent after hearing the testimony and comments at the Public Hearing that the Town needed to make a strong statement regarding this issue. I suggested the idea of an ordinance to the Town Council members, based on the comments and information we received, and it was unanimously approved by the Council. The decision we made in Clinton was based on input from our community and was made in the best interests of the people in our Town. Not all may agree with the decision we made in Clinton but I think we did a great job in educating the public regarding this issue and made a decision that I hope everyone can understand and know that we will always put our community first when making these tough decisions.

Christopher Aniskovich Chairman, Town Council Town of Clinton

When Connecticut adopted Public Act 21-1, the Brooklyn Planning and Zoning Commission already allowed medical marijuana dispensaries under existing zoning regulations pertaining to licensed health services. Sale of recreational cannabis was thought to be generally consistent with a medical dispensary as well as substantially similar to a package store. Planning and Zoning Commissioners commented that the proposal would generate tax revenue and not be detrimental to the town, especially since only one retail store could locate in Brooklyn. While some residents had concerns, it was felt that these concerns were generally alleviated when they learned how regulated cannabis would be. Effective March 11, 2022, retail and hybrid sale of cannabis was permitted as a Special Permit use in Brooklyn’s Planned Commercial Zone and micro-cultivation was permitted as a Special Permit use in the Industrial Zone.

There was recognition that being an early adopter might put Brooklyn at an advantage in the eastern part of the state. If people come to Brooklyn to visit the cannabis store, they may be inclined to spend money in other places, having a beneficial impact on the local economy. Brooklyn is located at the intersection of Route 6, an east-west artery, and Scenic Route 169, a national scenic byway and state-designated scenic road. The potential addition of a cannabis retail store could be an economic development driver for the community.

Jana Butts Roberson, AICP Director of Community Development/Town Planner Town of Brooklyn