NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH) – Norwich is among several cities and towns across the state which are welcoming marijuana businesses. On Monday night, aldermen in the city unanimously passed an ordinance, which would specifically allow plant-based manufacturing in Norwich.
There wasn’t anything on the book prohibiting marijuana businesses, but they say they wanted to put something on the books, which would specifically allow marijuana businesses because they have gotten so many inquiries from businesses that want to move into the city and they wanted to see it.
The move was made because businesses interested in coming into the city wanted to see an ordinance supporting that.
“Every day, the phone rings,” Norwich Mayor Peter Nystrom (R) said. “There’s a company either following up on prior calls or introducing themselves. This way, it’s now defined as something that’s acceptable.”
Phil Contreras recently expanded his Discount Liquor World in downtown Norwich and is glad to hear the city council passed the ordinance.
“Any business around, of course, generates more employees, and it helps small businesses like we have, so I think for us it’s a good idea,” Contreras said.
Middletown is another city that is putting out the welcome mat for marijuana businesses. Most of the cities and towns, which reported zoning changes to the state have passed moratoriums to give them a little more time to figure things out.
The state Department of Consumer Protection says there are more towns that have passed moratoriums than there are which have voted to approve or prohibit cannabis businesses combined.
“We’re concerned we could start getting applications before we were ready to address the exact location,” said First Selectwoman Danielle Chesebrough, (D-Stonington).
After voters passed a referendum allowing cannabis businesses in Stonington, the town passed a 6-month moratorium in March. On the retail side of things, the concern is traffic.
“On the micro cultivator side, we’re just trying to get a better sense of any type of smell and how that could impact anybody and to be sure the right policies and procedures are in place to deal with that,” Chesebrough said.
Officials in Norwich say beyond taxes, there are other benefits to the budding business.
“The utility sales, the use of energy and water is very very high,” Nystrom said.
Ten percent of Norwich Public Utilities’ gross profits go to the city.