The Bristol Press – The fate of retail sales and recreational cannabis use in Bristol remains murky
BRISTOL – The fate of retail sales and recreational cannabis use in Bristol may be murky, but no one said there was no medicinal place for the substance at the committee meeting. Bristol Ordinance on Tuesday, where stakeholders raised their concerns with committee members.
With a draft of potential legislation in the works, the Bristol Ordinance Committee amended an initial framework to legislate the sale of cannabis for recreational purposes in the municipality and voted to forward it to Bristol City Council to set a public hearing date. Committee members predict that there will potentially be two such hearings where stakeholders can further voice their concerns.
According to Mayor Jeff Caggiano, Bristol had one of the first medical marijuana dispensaries in the state that had been operating since 2014. First called The Healing Corner, it was bought by a company called TruLieve.
“They’ve been serving medical marijuana patients in a very safe, highly regulated way with medical-grade marijuana for the past eight years,” he said. “The (state) cannabis legislation that has been introduced puts us, in my opinion, in a bit of a predicament and there is room for debate as to how this happened. What we do know is that medical cannabis distributors or retail outlets will be grandfathered to allow them to become hybrids.
This means that a dispensary could potentially become a retailer and distributor of medical cannabis. The mayor said in his research of retail dispensaries in other states, many of them were operated by pharmacists. He said it would greatly increase the construction of such operations in Connecticut, and that many of those he reviewed had high-security systems.
“They are very well rated and followed and I think that is something important to note. I think that’s something we should consider in our prescriptions,” Caggiano said.
He went on to say that state regulations had removed population caps from dispensaries and Bristol’s proposed bill would likely include such language as a way to limit the presence of such locations in the municipality.
“My personal feeling on this is that one to three stores is kind of that sweet spot,” the mayor said. “You will want, at least initially, to push some people away. There are cities that could completely ban that and technically I think we could.
The mayor said he was unsure what impact this would have on TruLieve in Bristol.
Councilwoman Sue Tyler said she felt the state was still trying to solve its own problems with recreational cannabis sales and wanted some ordinances for Bristol to be written with due diligence and not there are not too many businesses of this type in the city. She said she was aware that a few potential dispensary businesses were looking to set up shop in the city as legislative standards had not been solidified.
Councilwoman Jackie Olsen said she was not for recreational cannabis use and suggested the proposed ordinance change her cap of one cannabis-selling establishment per 30,000 residents to 40,000.
Concerned about ancillary businesses that may not sell cannabis but package it, grow it, or otherwise process it, City Councilor Cheryl Thibeault suggested the ordinance take these into account. other businesses that may not distribute cannabis to buyers, but may also serve as an economic development boon. in Bristol. She also praised the medical benefits of cannabis for patients in the region and expressed her support for monitoring the distribution of recreational cannabis as a way to protect users from illegal products that could potentially contain fentanyl.
All councilors supported raising a residential cap in the wording of the drafted ordinance to be presented to council as a starting point for discussion at future public hearings.
A future article in Bristol Press will focus on the opinions expressed by stakeholders during the meetings.
Published in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 4:43 PM. Updated: Wednesday, August 3, 2022 4:45 p.m.