PLYMOUTH – Plymouth Mayor David Merchant is concerned about the consequences of marijuana legalization in Connecticut and plans to form a committee to decide how to handle questions of dispensaries in town.
Merchant said he and the town planner are currently looking over the new state ordinances as well as what ordinances the town currently has in place. He said while he has talked to a few people who are interested in opening a dispensary in town, the issue is still in the “talking stage.” He wants to put together a committee to discuss it further.
“We put a committee together to discuss how to handle American Recovery Act funding,” Merchant said. “Like that committee, this will be a cross-section of the town.”
Merchant said he envisions the committee including Town Council and Board of Education members as well as other community stakeholders.
State law limits the number of dispensaries able to own in a city or town based on the population. There can only be one dispensary per 25,000 people. In addition, towns have the ability to set their own zoning policies and decide whether or not they want to allow dispensaries.
“Ultimately, our town council will make a determination of what we want to do,” Merchant said. “I can’t say that Plymouth has an answer on what we will do yet.”
Merchant said, personally, he would not be excited to have a dispensary in town.
“We’ve got enough issues with opioids and other drugs,” he said. “Things like overdoses happen every year, even in our little community. I’m not excited that we’ve legalized something that gives people a start into that lifestyle.”
Due to these sorts of issues, Merchant said, he wants to approach the dispensary issue with “an abundance of caution.”
Merchant added he finds it hypocritical for politicians to say they are concerned about opioid abuse and then legalize marijuana for tax revenues.
“It feels like they are talking out of both sides of their mouth,” he said.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.