Stonington voters decide to allow cannabis establishments in town

Cannabis in Connecticut

STONINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Voters in Stonington decided to allow cannabis establishments in town Tuesday night.

Referendum results showed that 2,106 people voted not to prohibit cannabis establishments while 1,816 people voted to ban them.

There was also a question on the ballot asking if voters wanted to overturn a property tax assessment agreement for the former Campbell Grain site in Pawcatuck.

Voters decided to overturn the assessment, with 2,764 people voting to overturn and 1,173 people voting not to.

Voters in Stonington will decide Tuesday whether they want to ban cannabis establishments in town.

The reason it’s worded that way is because Connecticut state law allows for marijuana business whether it be retail or production in communities.

This is what people will be voting on: “Shall the town of Stonington adopt an ordinance prohibiting the establishment of a cannabis establishment within the town limits?”

Those who vote yes want to prohibit a cannabis establishment, while those who vote no want to allow a cannabis establishment.

“We said, let’s get this out to voters as quick as we can, so we know how they feel about it,” Stonington First Selectman Danielle Chesebrough said. “Then that can help direct us for planning and zoning, to be able to say, ‘yes, there’s one allowed and bring in your applications’ or ‘no, we’re not allowing it.’ It just kind of helps be a little bit more transparent to both the community and businesses that might want to start this up.”

“I think marijuana establishments wouldn’t hurt the community,” said Stonington resident and owner of Ferraro Home Products Ricky Hurlburt. “I think it will be better than not having it. You know. I do. I feel like we have a right to choose.”

But some see the potential for trouble.

“We did have a few residents come to a town meeting and very articulately express their concern over cannabis,” Chesebrough said.

In addition to the cannabis question, there is also a question on the ballot asking if voters want to overturn a property tax assessment agreement for the former Campbell Grain site in Pawcatuck.

Folks in Stonington are hoping both of these questions will prompt more people to show up at the polls than they usually do for a referendum.

“I think we have just under 15,000 people that are registered to vote in town and often times we get about 1,000 of them to come out to a referendum,” Chesebrough said.

If people end up supporting marijuana businesses with a no vote, the first selectman says money from the 3 percent local sales tax would be set aside for education, as well as tackling substance abuse and mental health issues.

News 8’s Tina Detelj will have more on this story tonight on News 8 at 5.

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