Recreational cannabis is legal, but will Southington allow it to be sold in town? That’s a topic Southington’s Planning and Zoning Commission was discussing at Tuesday night’s meeting.
There was no pubic commentary. Instead, the conversation was strictly among the members of the Planning and Zoning Commission. This, as they contemplate if they want to prohibit or allow the sale of recreational cannabis in town.
“Let’s be responsible because either way drugs come into our town,” said Commission member, Christina Volpe, during the discussion.
It was last on the agenda, but the topic of recreational cannabis sales was passionately discussed.
"We’re not going to stop it. We need to go and prevent it in areas around schools for hospitals. Every place that is vulnerable to our children,” said commission member Susan Locks.
While the hour-long discussion didn’t allow for public comment, people who live in town did attend. Stacey Dolan says she is not against dispensaries being in Southington, but does have concerns.
“I don’t want it near anywhere where it’s going to cause major traffic congestion,” she said.
Dolan is also frustrated with the process. She doesn’t want this decision solely in the hands of the Planning and Zoning Commission and has started a petition to bring this topic to a referendum.
“This is the only way that the town actually gets to have a say in whether we have it or not,” explained Dolan.
Dolan needs 10% of the town’s registered voters to sign the petition, for a referendum to be considered. The petition needs to be submitted to the Town Clerk at least 60 days prior to the election. Adam Tripp rode his bike to Tuesday’s meeting to make sure his name was included.
“I just don’t think we should leave it up to the zoning committee,” said Tripp who supports having dispensaries in town.
Commission Chairman, Bob Hammersley says he’s aware of the movement and knows a referendum could ultimately decide what happens in November. He explains that Tuesday’s meeting was a necessary step.
“We have an obligation to review the policy and set policy for land-use in our town and that’s what we’re undertaking now,” said Hammersley.
No vote was taken Tuesday. The Commission is now considering placing a moratorium on the issue, as they still have more questions. The next meeting is in August.