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P&Z Ready to Prepare for Legalized Medical Marijuana

The commission's aim is have a handle on the issues if the state passes one of several bills wending their way through the legislature.

P&Z Ready to Prepare for Legalized Medical Marijuana

If the state legislature decides to pass a new law allowing the sale and use of “medical” marijuana the Middletown Planning and Zoning Commission wants to be ready.

According to TPZ Chairman Quentin Phipps, commission members are getting ready to begin to craft new regulations for the city which would apply to medical marijuana use if the state legislature ultimately decides to legalize medical marijuana.

Presently there are at least two bills in the state legislature which would legalize the sale of medical marijuana.  An Act Concerning the Compassionate Use of Marijuana would legalize the acquisition, distribution, possession and the cultivation of marijuana for medical use for such ailments as cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, Parkinson’s Disease, epilepsy and spinal chord injuries.

A patient would be required to get a diagnosis from a physician and would only be allowed to have three months' worth of marijuana. Cultivation would only be allowed indoors at a secure location. There also would be a registration system.

While that bill has yet to make its way through the Judiciary Committee, a similar bill has already received a favorable recommendation from the committee.

State Reps. Joseph Serra and Christie Carpino voted in support of the favorable recommendation for that bill. State Sen. Paul Doyle voted against the measure.

The bill’s progress through the Senate committees so far has some on the Middletown Planning and Zoning Commission concerned about where medical marijuana will be sold and grown if the state legalizes such use.

To help set guidelines to where medical marijuana could be bought, sold and grown in Middletown, the Planning and Zoning Commission is in the process of beginning to draft regulations to address such uses if legalized.

Commission Alternate Ken McCellan argued Tuesday that any regulations that are drawn up by the city should be kept simple and not passed until the state legislature passes a law legalizing medical marijuana.

Vice-Chair Richard Pelletier, however, voiced concern that certain individuals out there could be ready to begin selling or growing medical marijuana as soon as a new law is passed. To combat this, he argued that the commission should have some regulations in place before a new law is passed.

“It would be better to have something in place before,” he argued during the commission’s meeting Wednesday.  “We are more likely to prevent unintended …sales techniques we would not be pleased with.”

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