CT: Saybrook Zoning Approves Medical Marijuana Dispensary, State Has Final Say

Photo Credit: O'Dea

If the state’s Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) licenses Acreage Connecticut, LLC, for a medical marijuana dispensary at 5 Custom Drive, there is now no local regulatory obstacle to that plan. On May 21, the Old Saybrook Zoning Commission (ZC) voted to approve the company’s application to locate The Botanist retail pharmacy at 5 Custom Drive. The approval was without conditions.

Police Chief Michael Spera had earlier exhorted the commission to deny the application and again asked the ZC to require the applicant to complete a traffic study as a condition of approval; the commission declined.

A retail pharmacy is a permitted use in the Gateway B-4 District, a zone which includes Custom Drive. As a result, under current zoning rules, if the applicant presented a site plan that met town zoning rules, the ZC did not have a basis on which to deny it.

The zoning regulations do not impose any special rules on a use like a medical marijuana dispensary. Neither a special exception permit nor a public hearing is required. Because of the public interest in this particular application, however, the ZC chose to schedule a public hearing on it.

DCP announced earlier this year that it would take applications in 2018 for new medical marijuana dispensary licenses. It also reserved the right to issue as few as 3 and as many as 10 new licenses. All completed applications were to be delivered to DCP offices by April 9. Acreage Connecticut, LLC, was one of the firms submitting applications.

DCP spokesman Lora Rae Anderson said that DCP received 73 applications from firms seeking licenses for new medical marijuana dispensaries.

“The [request for applications] calls for 3 to 10 new dispensary facilities. We hope to award those licenses at some point this fall,” said Anderson.