FAIRFIELD, Conn. – After two public hearings and hours of research, the Fairfield Plan and Zoning Commission unanimously denied two applications for medical marijuana dispensaries in town.
The commission, at its meeting Tuesday night, said that the reason for the denial was not because marijuana has been successfully used in treating patients, but because the regulations weren’t there in the town.
“I applauded and welcomed the decision of the state legislature to permit the distribution of medical marijuana,” Commisioner James Kennelly said. “As a larger matter I also believe that it’s a step in the direction toward less hysterical issues surrounding drugs in our country and our state.”
There were two applications before the commission, one at 400 Post Road and the other at 220 Post Road.
However, Kennelly said that the state wasn’t assisting localities in finding ways to decrease the impact to the town, especially as regarding the number of patients per dispensary and the safety of the community around it.
“How am I supposed to vote for something like this when the state is clearly disengaged on the local impact?” Kennelly asked.
For Commissioner Gerry Alessi, the matter was one of town regulations and the manner of how the application was done. He said that the applicant had applied as a retail single-use pharmacy, but would not allow anyone who wasn’t a patient to enter.
“I don’t know of any retail space in town where the public cannot enter, so I don’t’ consider this a retail space,” Alessi said. He also spoke about the nearly 14 bus stops that would have been near the 220 Post Road location, stating that there was a serious concern for public safety.
“This application is trying to put a square peg in a round hole,” Commissioner Matthew Wagner said.
Vice Chairman Seth Baratz said that the commission needs to come up with formal regulations for something like this before they can really consider how to accept any medical marijuana application.
“I think there is benefits for the patients but we need to do it the right way, we need to do it the safe way and that the state really needs to step up and do their job. They didn’t come with a full plan and they need to,” Commissioner Richard Jacobs said.
David Lipton, owner of Fairfield Based CT Wellness Centers, was the applicant for the 222 Post Road location and after the meeting said that he would be happy to work with the commission to come up with regulations that might help everyone. He also said that he would probably reapply in Fairfield if new regulations came into existence.
While no public comment was allowed before the commission voted, applause erupted after each commissioner said they would not vote to permit the dispensaries.