New Canaan commission bans all cannabis sales, city businesses

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NEW CANAAN – If residents want cannabis, they will have to go outside the city limits to buy it.

The Planning and Zoning Commission decided to ban all cannabis establishments – recreational and medical – this week, revising a previous moratorium that dealt only with medical marijuana. The commission’s decision, which will take effect on December 17, is in line with state law legalizing cannabis use earlier this year, which gave cities the option of banning sales.

The committee has already addressed this subject when it voted in April 2019 to permanently ban medical marijuana dispensaries and production facilities. The latest regulatory amendment now extends it to all cannabis. The commission had scheduled a public hearing in September on the subject, but no inhabitant participated.

Commissioner John Kriz, who introduced the motion for the text change, said it was in line with current regulations and “simply an expansion of the concept to include all sale of marijuana, not just for medical purposes.


He argued that this reduced the potential for the sale of cannabis, although the city “cannot regulate the use”, according to state law.

To streamline the move, Kriz said the new text complies with regulations in the city’s conservation and development plan, as sales would be “a potential challenge for public health and safety. He feared that the sale of cannabis in the city would stimulate the ‘potential for consumption on the streets’, which could lead to the ‘possibility of high contact’ for passers-by.

“I’ve seen this in other municipalities,” where people near someone who smokes cannabis have also felt the effects, Kriz told fellow commissioners.

The regulations prohibit “the location of any dispensary or facility for the production of medical marijuana in any of the commercial areas.” State law defines 11 different types of establishments that would be considered marijuana businesses, including retail stores, packaging companies, delivery companies, producers, and carriers.

Although commission chairman John Goodwin noted that the city “can always change our bylaws, so no bylaw is permanent.”


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