Cannabis in Connecticut

Concerns Raised About Recreational Cannabis Shop Opening in Hartford

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On Tuesday, people weighed in on a plan to open a recreational dispensary just steps from a busy tourist and entertainment area in Hartford.

Some folks we talked with were in favor of a plan to transform a former restaurant space on Arch Street into an adult-use cannabis retailer.

“I think it’s a really good idea,” said Jordan Espinoza of East Hartford. “Putting it in this area is making it more accessible to people.”

On Tuesday, a city commission held a public hearing on the idea, which needs a special permit to get the shop going.

“We do understand we are the first application here in Hartford,” said Gregory Piecuch, an attorney for the applicant.

Concerns have been raised about parking and potential traffic and crowds.

The Capitol Region Development Authority doesn’t think the proposed business fits the goals of the area, called Adriaen’s Landing, which includes the nearby Connecticut Convention Center and the Front Street District.

“This was supposed to be a family-friendly district. The Science Center has children over there all the time,” said Anthony Lazzaro, CRDA deputy director.

“I don’t think this is going to stand out as something that is unwelcomed in downtown Hartford,” Piecuch said.

The applicant reports they have plans for parking and while up to 200 customers a day are expected, there shouldn’t be long lines. And he's heard support from other business managers for what he calls a high-end spot.

“They talked about increasing foot traffic. They talked about large vacancies within this district for years,” said applicant Derrick Gibbs Jr.

A timeout was called so everyone can figure out who actually controls the lot: the city or CRDA.

The review of the application is expected to resume at another meeting in two weeks.

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