With a new law that will soon allow the sale and cultivation of medical marijuana in Connecticut, the town is considering a couple of regulations not covered by the state.
Monday night, the Planning Commission looked at proposed Zoning Commission regulations to see if it found them consistent with the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development.
The state law, effective Oct. 1, 2012, includes many safeguards, including only allowing licensed pharmacists to fill prescriptions.
Canton’s proposed regulation would also only allow medical marijuana's sale within a licensed pharmacy and by special exception.
While planning commission members ultimately endorsed a referral, some wondered how realistic it was that established pharmacies would sell the drug, when the federal government does not recognize state laws legalizing it.
“Are they going to run the risk of being raided by the feds?” chairwoman Rosemary Aldridge asked.
The change would prevent the drug being dispensed from numerous storefronts, which sometimes causes problems in other states, town planner Neil Pade said.
“That would be our local control,” Pade said.
The other major change would come in the cultivation of marijuana.
While the state will only allow between 3 and 10 growers, the town has received inquiries, Pade said.
While there was some talk of banning such facilities, the proposed zoning regulation, based on suggestions from assistant town planner Roland Klee, would allow such a facility in industrial areas and reiterates that it be indoors, Pade said.
While commissioner Dave Evens said he objected to provisions in the state law that make it hard for a small business to run such a facility, he believes the secure, clean, hydroponic operations will be an economic boon for towns where they are located.
“It’s going to be a good piece of business,” Evens said.
While there was some talk of allowing such a business on farmland, the commission ultimately endorsed the proposed language.
A public hearing on the proposed regulations will take place at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19.
For more on the state law, see this earlier article.