Public hearing on Bristol recreational cannabis sales set for Sept. 6

Published on Tuesday, 30 August 2022 16:22
Written by Dean Wright

@DeanIWright

BRISTOL – With historic changes on the horizon for the city, the Bristol Ordinance Committee will be holding a public hearing Sept. 6 at 5:30 p.m. to debate proposed legislation seeking to set limits around recreational cannabis sales. 

The hearing will be held on the lower floors of the Bristol Public Library and speakers will be limited to a commentary period of four minutes each.

“This decision and the effects it will have on our city could have a positive impact or a negative impact. It could be a mixed bag for people. There’s many different angles here that could affect businesses, residents, housing markets and our children,” said City Councilwoman and Ordinance Committee Chair Sue Tyler. “I think that the community should utilize their right to come out and share their voice, whether you’re for it or against it or to maybe suggest some different guard rails.”

She stressed the decisions pertaining to recreational cannabis sales in Bristol should not be made by a “select few.” She called the proposed legislation “a work in progress” and noted it still had the potential for change.

In early August, the committee first looked at a working legal framework as a starting point to limit dispensaries that may make retail recreational cannabis sales in proportion to a number of city residents. The City Council voted to set the date for the hearing with conversation indicating that there would likely be two such hearings. 

Bristol Mayor Jeff Caggiano said he felt that potentially two to three dispensaries within the city was a “sweet spot” in the hopes of not overloading any one location as any such stores will likely service both medical patients and recreational customers. As one of the first such locations in the state, The Healing Corner began serving medical marijuana patients in Bristol in 2014 before being purchased by TruLieve, one of the leading cannabis sellers in the country. 

With state legislation legalizing recreational cannabis use in 2021, the state previously had a population cap for dispensaries in each municipality but has since removed it, said city officials.

Trulieve is set to be grandfathered into recreational cannabis sales with a corresponding license within Bristol. Some city officials and residents have expressed concern with whether or not residents would be able to control the number of such other stores looking to set up within the city. 

Currently, proposed ordinance language states, “With the exception of a dispensary facility currently operating in the City that converts to a hybrid retailer, any retailer, hybrid retailer, cultivator or micro-cultivator must obtain approval from the City Council to operate in the City. Approvals shall be limited to no more retailers or hybrid retailers, and no more micro-cultivators than would result in one retailer or hybrid retailer and one micro-cultivator per forty thousand residents.” 

Bristol has a little over 60,000 residents. The ordinance would also prevent the establishment of dispensaries within 250 feet by way of a straight line to any boundary lot containing a hospital, municipal park, municipal recreational facility, church or school.

Written comments can be submitted to the Ordinance Committee chair at susantyler@bristolct.gov or Bristol Corporate Counsel at thomasconlin@Bristolct.gov. Those wishing to attend the meeting digitally may also utilize a Zoom link provided in the meeting’s agenda located on the city’s website through agenda center tabs.



Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, Forestville on Tuesday, 30 August 2022 16:22. Updated: Tuesday, 30 August 2022 16:24.