Commission amends parts of medical marijuana regulations

After ending the moratorium and deciding to place special regulations on the permitting of medical marijuana dispensaries and production centers in town, the Planning & Zoning Commission voted to amend sections of its draft special regulation during its Nov. 10 meeting.

Board members Franklin Wong and John Comiskey voted in opposition to adopting the regulation amendments.

As he did at the commission’s Oct. 27 meeting, Mr. Wong maintained an opposition to restrictions on medical marijuana facilities on Monday.

After the commission voted to amend Section 29-2.B of Regulation #14346 and omit a rule that would have allowed a dispensary to use only 10% of its space for marijuana and paraphernalia, Mr. Wong addressed other areas of the regulation with which he had issues.

“We are taking a specific medical treatment and saying, ‘We’re going to put land-use regulations pertaining to them,’” said Mr. Wong.

“I think we’re setting a precedent to say we can look at each individual medical treatment and say we want an additional regulation on it.”

During the commission’s Oct. 27 meeting, Town Planner Bob Nerney noted that state regulations on medical marijuana facilities are more lax than Wilton’s new regulations.

Mr. Wong said he believes the commission is “going further” than state regulations when it comes to the display of medical marijuana facilities.

“I think it should be clear that it is a marijuana facility,” he said. “I would like to see clear identification that it’s a medical marijuana facility. I think we are obscuring that fact by putting these restrictions on it.”

Mr. Nerney said it is “purely a state statute” and that it’s “very specific in the consumer protection laws that that’s what the limitations originate from.”

Mr. Wong said he’s also unsure about the security plan, which includes perimeter alarms, motion detectors, video cameras, panic alarms, and hold-up alarms.

Commissioner Sally Poundstone said the section does repeat some substance of the state regulations, but it also protects the community because, she said, “the state regulations can change.”

Commissioner Joe Fiteni pointed out that the commission has the right to impose security plans on facilities if the state regulations do change.

“We could have done it on the liquor stores, too, if we wanted to — that’s our mandate as Planning & Zoning,” said Mr. Fiteni.

After discussion, the commission voted to also change the way schools are defined with regard to the special use permit for general business districts, to which town regulations restrict medical marijuana facilities.

The Planning & Zoning Commission’s next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 24, at 7:15 p.m., in the town hall annex.