Town of Prospect moving to block over-the-counter marijuana sales after state legalization

Cannabis in Connecticut

PROSPECT, Conn. (WTNH) — There is some backlash against the state’s new recreational marijuana bill. The Town of Prospect has moved to block the over-the-counter sale of pot for the next six months.

RELATED: CT becomes 19th state in the nation to legalize recreational use, sale of marijuana for adults

The ban was passed by the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission. Mayor Robert Chatfield says he supports the move, adding that it will give the town time to get more public input and see how legalization goes in other towns and cities.

Chatfield says he’s concerned young people will be able to access the drug, and – as a decades’ long member of the fire department – he fears a rise in Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) car accidents.

“Being a first responder, I’ve been to a lot of DWI deaths,” said Chatfield, “I’m worried about everybody but I’m responsible for the people of Prospect.”

“It could get into the wrong person’s hands,” agrees resident Tom Moscariello.

“We’re not at this time looking for this to take place in Prospect. You’re still going to be able to buy it in other towns,” said Chatfield.

RELATED: CT police taking steps to keep impaired drivers off the roads now that pot is legal in the state

The governor’s office highlighted measures designed to prevent underage use and impaired driving, including making it a misdemeanor to sell pot to anyone under 21 years old and training police to more quickly spot drivers under the influence. But in and around Prospect, opponents of the bill spoke in support of the town’s preemptive strike.

“The chances of them abusing it and driving and having accidents and passing it down to younger siblings or friends, the whole bill I don’t think is a good idea,” said John Kasinskas.

“I’m not afraid to take a stand,” said the mayor.

There is a price to pay for banning those retail sales. Prospect will be missing out on any potential sales tax revenue. The bill sets municipal sales tax at three percent.

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