Old Saybrook considers possible zoning changes regarding retail sales of recreational marijuana

Cannabis in Connecticut

OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. (WTNH) — That little green leaf is already becoming more familiar with CBD shops now open in Old Saybrook. 

Signage and product placement are two of the big concerns for the town’s Youth and Family Services as the Zoning Commission considers regulations for marijuana retail stores.

“There are several very interested people looking to do a larger operation,” said First Selectman Carl Fortuna, (R) Old Saybrook.

“It’s not about legislating adult use of marijuana although that’s certainly a concern for us. But it’s really about availability and accessibility to youth,” said Heather McNeil, the Director of Old Saybrook Youth and Family Services.

She doesn’t want kids to see pot stores along Main Street.

“The age of first use becomes younger and younger the more available a product is and the more it’s normalized within a community,” said McNeil.

She says the brain doesn’t stop developing until age 25 and THC levels in today’s marijuana is higher, including in gummies which look like kids’ candy.

“So there may be a chance of accidental ingestion that we’re seeing at the local emergency rooms and hospitals,” said McNeil.

Old Saybrook’s Zoning Commission is seeking a moratorium on the marijuana issue for now with a public hearing set for Oct. 4. 

“It would allow the town to just consider the issue a little bit more carefully,” said Fortuna. “It’s new.”

On the other end of Middlesex County, Middletown has already approved zoning changes which would allow for the cultivation and retail sales of recreational marijuana.

“My primary goal number one is to… if there’s a new industry and there’s a new potential for economic development that we should jump on that,” said Mayor Ben Florsheim, (D) Middletown. “We should do that.”

Middletown did with little opposition like what’s being heard along the shoreline.

“There are a lot of folks who don’t see the danger that we see,” said McNeil.

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