Wilton officially extends cannabis moratorium a year

Photo of J.D. Freda
Wilton may be looking to extend its year-long moratorium on the sale of cannabis.

Wilton may be looking to extend its year-long moratorium on the sale of cannabis.

Will Waldron / Times Union

WILTON — While an ordinance has been passed allowing three possible cannabis retailers in neighboring Norwalk, there will be no such establishments seen just across town lines in Wilton — at least for now.

Planning and Zoning Commission members voted unanimously Tuesday to temporarily close that door and extend the cannabis moratorium to Oct. 29, 2023, meaning potential retailers in Connecticut's new marijuana space will have to wait a year before eyeing Wilton as a potential destination. The commission initially voted to pass a year-long moratorium in October 2021.

"The commission elected to basically create a prohibition for any of those cannabis uses, cannabis establishments," Town Planner Michael Wrinn said. "The hope was that, by the time we got to the spring, or to the summer, that we'd have a much clearer idea of the impact of these, or maybe if it didn't have any impact."

To date, Wrinn said, licenses for such establishments have been distributed slowly and sparingly, giving Wilton little to base a final decision on.

"There's not a lot of track record to go on," Wrinn said. "You hear that Norwalk is possibly in the middle of allowing three, others have created moratoriums for two years, and others have basically prohibited them entirely."

Wrinn suggested a wait-and-see approach, having drafted a resolution on Tuesday. Planning and Zoning Chairman Rick Tomasetti said he was in agreement with the resolution following a public hearing that no residents spoke at.

"The state doesn't have enough guidance yet, as far as I'm concerned," Tomasetti said. "We don't really know what's going on in respect to how many there could be in town, what's happening  — for instance  — in Norwalk and our peer communities. Keeping the moratorium for another year makes a lot of sense to me."

While Wilton's neighbors to the south have opted to allow for some cannabis retail, it's northern neighbors have prohibited it altogether. In early September, Ridgefield residents voted 144-43 at a special town meeting in favor of an ordinance to ban marijuana sales outright.

The town's western neighbors, New Canaan, passed an ordinance in late 2021 to ban all cannabis sales — recreational and medical. One commissioner called the sale of cannabis a "potential challenge to public health and safety," taking language directly out of a regulation in the town's Plan of Conservation and Development.

Wilton Planning and Zoning Commission will be able to revisit the topic before the moratorium expires to discuss any developments from the state or nearby town.