Proposed Cannabis Dispensary on Route 44 Draws Debate, Discussion in Canton

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During a Zoning and Planning Commission meeting Tuesday night, people expressed their thoughts and concerns about a proposed cannabis dispensary in Canton.

The dispensary could transform and repurpose the site of an old bank along Route 44 and some neighbors are opposed to the move over traffic concerns.

“This was an up-and-coming corridor. We’ve seen so much development in Canton and we want to be part of that wave," said Amanda Ostrowitz with Slap Ash LLC.

Ostrowitz bought the property and said it’s a great location for a business. She wants to work with the community.  

“I’m here to build a business that contributes to the community and that’s going to sustain itself,” Ostrowitz said.

Some neighbors living on Canton Valley Circle next door aren’t thrilled with the location.

“All the traffic that’s coming in that’s proposed, if you can see, it’s really a short distance," Jordan Toussiant said.

Toussiant, a neighbor helping lead the effort to get the dispensary out, said traffic could get backed up to the point drivers will be circling around their neighborhood.

“We’re going to have all this backed up traffic driving around and that’s just really not conducive to a neighborhood environment,” she said.

Ostrowitz said the engineering consultant she hired shows there would be less traffic at a potential dispensary than its previous use. The document shows 58 trips compared to 64 trips as a drive-in bank during afternoon peak hours. Some neighbors are skeptical.

“I think unless you live on the block, and you’re stationed here, you would find that that is incorrect,” Dawn Ryzak, who lives on Canton Valley Circle, said.

But what has the Town of Canton found?

After reaching out to about 30 communities in Connecticut and Massachusetts with operating dispensaries, a town planner wrote to a city official in New Britain on Jan. 30. The message reads, in part:

“Subsequent towns have not had any traffic issues after the novelty went away. Everyone also agreed that the fears of crime have thankfully not materialized in reality.”

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