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Medical Marijuana Logistics a Mindbender for Connecticut Municipalities

The state is accepting applications for marijuana growers and dispensers in Connecticut, but local officials are scrambling for consensus on whether they can — or will — approve the facilities.

Medical Marijuana Logistics a Mindbender for Connecticut Municipalities
By  Ronald DeRosa

It's been more than a year since the state approved legislation allowing for the growing and sale of medical marijuana in Connecticut, and the question remains: Where will these prospective businesses set up shop? 

The answer: wherever local towns and cities will let them. And, with that, some local officials are looking to the state for guidance.

CTNewsJunkie.com reported that local planning and zoning officials gathered in Hartford last week to better understand the state's new medical marijuana laws and how they would impact local land-use regulations. 

The state said it expects to initially give out three licenses to businesses for production facilities, where the marijuana will be grown, and three to five licenses for dispensaries, where buyers can go and pick up the product,  according to the state Department of Consumer Protection, which is regulating the industry for Connecticut.

The applications are due to the state by Nov. 15.

DCP Commissioner William Rubenstein told the land use officials during the Thursday meeting that local zoning laws can be more stringent than regulations the state has adopted,  CTNewsJunkie.com reported. Rubenstein also said the state won't dictate how the facilities are sited in Connecticut,  the news site reported.

The state  approved in late August a series of Department of Consumer Protection regulations allowing for businesses that wish to begin medical marijuana production to set up shop in the state. The entire program is outlined  here, and  here's a list of the finalized regulations.

Some municipalities have already taken local legislative action in response to the new laws. 

Middletown's Common Council  approved in August a proposal to lease a city-owned property to a Fairfield firm looking to get into the medical marijuana production business. The state has since begun taking applications from the prospective businesses, including the one in Middletown, Greenbelt Management.

Other towns, however, have not reacted as favorably.

Shelton officials enacted last month a nine-month moratorium, saying it won't be taking any applications until next summer when it finishes creating its own medical marijuana regulations. 

Ansonia has also taken this tack, and,  as CTNewsJunkie.com reported, Windham has been approached by one prospective dispensary business and is looking to the state for clarity on how best to proceed.

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