Changes for Danbury’s first proposed retail pot shop to prevent traffic backup, mishandled marijuana

DANBURY — After city officials voiced concerns about traffic backups and security at what would be Danbury’s first retail cannabis shop, the owners have revised plans to simplify the circulation pattern and ensure no one goes looking for thrown-out pot products in the parking lot.

“The refuse area will be gated and locked, with no cannabis disposed of in trash or recycling containers,” reads a memo to city staff from Thomas Beecher, an attorney representing the would-be pot shop owner BUD-R Hartford Holdings, which hopes to convert an empty equipment rental building on busy Federal Road into recreational cannabis sales.

"Also, any cannabis products that are returned for defect cannot (under state law) be disposed of in the normal trash dumpster,” reads the odor remediation plan submitted to the city by BUD-R. “Rather, it must be returned directly to the producer for disposal.”

The revised plans by BUD-R, which include new renderings of the small stand-alone building near the overpasses of Interstate 84 and Route 202, will be scrutinized during a public hearing by the city’s Planning Commission on Wednesday — the same night a public hearing will be conducted by the same commission on what would be Danbury’s first hybrid cannabis business, selling both medicinal marijuana to patients and recreational pot to adults.

The two applications, which are unrelated and on separate sides of the city, follow a year’s worth of work by Danbury to adopt regulations permitting four types of marijuana businesses on a limited basis and in specific commercial zones.

The regulations cap the number of marijuana businesses according to category, allowing for a total of two hybrid retailers or a total of three businesses in the following categories: one medicinal marijuana dispensary, one recreational pot business, and one hybrid retailer. The regulations also allow one micro-cultivator — a farmer whose grow space is between 2,000- and 10,000-square-feet.

That means that if the BUD-R recreational pot shop on the east end is approved, and The Botanist hybrid medicinal and retail pot dispensary is approved on the west side, there would one slot left for a marijuana business in Danbury, and one opening for a small scale farmer.

BUD-R’s revised plans include a handful of changes related to security and public safety.

“The security plan for this site is pretty generic but seems to cover the important aspects,” said Danbury Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour in a November memo. “It will all come down to proper execution of the plan and, more importantly, proper background checks and training for security personnel.”

Ridenhour added, “I am concerned about the traffic this facility will generate” near the entrance to Lowe’s, Best Buy and AMC Danbury 16.

“After going through there several times I believe that it must be a right turn only both in and out,” Ridenhour said. “It’s too close to the White Turkey Road intersection for vehicles to safely make a left turn into the facility from the south or to exit heading north on Federal Road.”

BUD-R agreed in late November to the police chief’s condition, and other suggestions from city officials, including building a sidewalk in front of the Federal Road property.

City officials also wanted more details about a BUD-R property management plan that was “not adequate,” as well as information about marijuana vaults, video cameras, alarms, and signs warning customers that “no cannabis shall be applied, ingested, or consumed inside or on the premises of a cannabis retailer.”

“State law states that cannabis products, including these packages and bags, cannot be opened or consumed on site,” reads the revised odor remediation plan submitted to the city by BUD-R. “Such consumption or opening is illegal. To ensure that this protocol is followed by all customers and anyone else, there will be signs posted.”

Among other precautions specified in BUD-R’s revisions: “Deliveries will happen daily, and times will be randomized by the producers for security reasons.”

Reach Rob Ryser at or 203-731-3342