SOUTHINGTON â€“ Resident Stacey Dolanâ€™s petition to force a referendum on marijuana dispensaries had to â€śre-launchâ€ť due to an issue with filing. As a result, she wonâ€™t be able to gather enough signatures for the issue to appear on this yearâ€™s ballot and she is aiming instead for 2022.
Dolan said she had to â€śrevitalizeâ€ť the petition due to a â€śprocess issueâ€ť which rendered the first round of signatures she collected in early July â€śdeficient.â€ť Dolan started a new petition July 20 and will have until Jan. 20 next year to collect the required 3,146 signatures for the referendum to appear on the November 2022 ballot. Dolan added a family member fell ill around the same time, which became her priority.
â€śFor people who still want the tax money, I will continue on,â€ť she said. â€śFor those who donâ€™t want a dispensary in town, they can vote against it in 2022. With everything going on, I had to put family first for a while and take care of that.â€ť
When Dolan started her petition, she said she felt that the town council would oppose having a dispensary. Her goal, she said, was to have â€śa more open discussionâ€ť with the community.
After going door to door, Dolan said she feels as though â€ś80%â€ť of the people who spoke to her are against having a dispensary in town.
â€śI donâ€™t believe a lot of people want it, but I feel that for the most part people are not educated on the issue enough,â€ť she said. â€śI had to explain to a lot of people that recreational marijuana is now legal in Connecticut. People argue as though if a dispensary doesnâ€™t come in then recreational marijuana wonâ€™t be legal. Marijuana is already here and itâ€™s already being smoked.â€ť
Dolan said her goal is not to push an agenda. Regardless of whether or not people sign her petition, she said, Southington residents can still â€śdrive 15 minutes down the road to Newington.â€ť
â€śEven if we gather enough signatures next year, Newingtonâ€™s dispensary will still be able to open their doors before we ever could,â€ť Dolan said. â€śWeâ€™re not going to be making the kind of money that we would have if we were the first, or even the second or third town in Connecticut to open a dispensary.â€ť
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.