Over 40% of Connecticut towns have opted to place bans or moratoriums on adult-use cannabis businesses, including 75 out of the state’s 169 municipalities, according to Hearst Connecticut Media Group data outlined by the New Haven Register. The opt-outs are mostly in small towns and suburbs.
Connecticut’s adult-use law was approved by lawmakers in July 2021. Like many states, it includes provisions that allow localities to outright ban or take a “wait and see” approach to the new policy. In all, 25 of the towns implemented bans, while 53 implemented moratoriums. In the surveys and interviews conducted by Hearst Media, some leaders say they still need time to review the new law to craft regulations. Notably, cities like Greenwich cited a conflict between Connecticut and federal law as the reason for their ban.
“When the Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed the zoning regulations regarding the ban, the merits of recreational or medicinal marijuana were not considered on-topic,” said Katie DeLuca, Greenwich’s director of planning and zoning. “The reason is that they found that there was a legal conflict between state and federal law in that state law permits such uses and federal law does not. In such instances, federal law takes precedent.”
Industry experts like Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, maintain towns that wait or ban cannabis businesses are missing out on tax revenue and economic growth. He is quick to point out the bans do not change buying habits, but consumers will “end up driving to another jurisdiction” to purchase cannabis.
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