HAMDEN – While not expecting any applications any time soon, the town is preparing for the time when a medical marijuana production facility or dispensary is proposed for Hamden.
The Planning and Zoning Department has submitted an application for regulations to govern both uses. While the state isn’t accepting applications right now for either use, it likely will eventually, and the town wants to be ready, according to the application, which proposes to limit areas where they could operate to three places – on Dixwell Avenue, Whitney Avenue and State Street.
The Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the application on July 25.
There are currently four licensed medical marijuana producers and nine licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Connecticut, according to the application. The nearest dispensaries are in Branford and Milford, which service 4,202 New Haven County residents approved for medical marijuana prescriptions, it states.
“Both types of businesses are highly regulated by the state under the direction of the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection,” the application says. “The comprehensive regulations govern everything from licensing producers, requirements for physicians to meet to be eligible to prescribe medical marijuana, registration of patients and primary caregivers, security measures, storage and handling of the substance to the size of the dispensary sign.”
Though the state isn’t currently accepting applications for additional dispensaries or producers, “this could certainly change in the future,” according to Kops.
“The rational for the proposed amendment is to put in place regulations governing the two uses that are appropriate for Hamden,” Kops writes in the application. “Several other communities have approved zoning regulations allowing medical marijuana producers and dispensaries over the past few years.”
The amendment defines a production facility as “a secure, indoor facility where production of marijuana occurs and that is operated by a person to whom the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection has issued a producer license,” while a dispensary is described as “a place of business where marijuana may be dispensed or sold to qualifying patients and primary caregivers and for which the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection has a dispensary facility permit.”
In addition to the permit, a production facilities can’t be located within 1,000 feet of a school or church and must be in a M zone and be less than 20,000 square feet. Dispensaries too can’t be within 1,000 feet of a church or school, and must be located in a T-4 or T-5 zone on Dixwell or Whitney avenues or on State Street.
Medical marijuana production facilities and dispensaries are typically located in commercial and industrial zones, Kops said in the application, which is why the amendment limits them to the three locations. But, Kops notes in the application, the only complaint recorded regarding the facilities and dispensaries was in West Haven, complaining about the odor emanating from Advanced Grow Labs on Frontage Road.
New construction will require site plan approval under the proposed regulations, while applications utilizing an existing building will need a zoning permit. Per the state’s regulations, the businesses can only have one small sign outside the facility, Kops said.
“No community wants marijuana production facilities and dispensaries to attract other than approved patients and caregivers,” he says in the application. “The business shouldn’t become an attractive nuisance.”