Public hearings on recreational marijuana sales held in Orange

Cannabis in Connecticut

ORANGE, Conn. (WTNH) — Neighbors in Orange spoke out Wednesday night on whether cannabis should be legalized in their community.

The town has already said you can’t smoke marijuana on town property. Now the question is, will anyone be able to legally sell marijuana anywhere in town?

The Zoning Department presented people with three options on how to deal with recreational cannabis during the public hearing.

Options include: regulating cannabis, banning cannabis industries from the town, or imposing a moratorium to revisit the issue later.

One citizen had this to say at the hearings: “My concern is…when the legislation was proposed by some city representatives, there was controversy overwriting the bill because it favored one Westport person. Not only the danger of a pathway of addiction, [but also] you had those early feelers of corruption. If people want to buy marijuana, there are already state-mandated retail opportunities in the Connecticut cities.”

Orange selectman, Mitch Goldblatt, pointed to the business opportunity for the city: “I’m sure that our neighboring towns will take advantage of this and the people are gonna drive through our town to get to the others…There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have that one in our town.”

The Board of Selectman in Orange recently banned smoking marijuana, tobacco, and vaping on town-owned property.

Certainly, New Haven is going to have legal cannabis businesses. The state law that legalized the industry was written to allow marijuana stores in major cities. The thinking is, those communities hit the hardest by the decades-long war on drugs should be the ones to benefit the most from the legalization of one of those drugs.

But Orange does not have an inner-city. What it does have is a long stretch of Route One with lots of strip malls.

The question town leaders face now is whether to allow this new industry to set up shop there.

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