BRISTOL, Conn. (WTNH) – The city of Bristol is preparing plans for recreational marijuana sales but not all residents are happy about it.
Neighbors packed the room at the Bristol Public Library last week for a public hearing held by the Ordinance Committee. The topic at hand was how will the city regulate retail sales, but most residents were more vocal about marijuana itself.
“Regular use, recreationally, becomes addictive and leads to the demise of the person and the loved ones around them. I sure don’t think we need more of that in our society or in Bristol,” said one neighbor.
The sale of recreational marijuana in Connecticut is set to begin later this year. Bristol’s Ordinance Committee is deciding regulations, such as how many shops should the city have and where those shops are located.
“Our goal is to set up guardrails to make sure that we protect the youth and that it’s not on every street corner and it’s an older neighborhood that is discreet and taken care of,” said Cheryl Thibeault, a City Council and Ordinance Committee member.
The city has decided that there will not be any stores that sell just recreational marijuana. Instead, the city has settled on allowing hybrid models, a shop that sells both medicinal and recreational cannabis.
“The good thing about that is that it’s very restricted and also governed and very well regulated as if it were still medical,” said Mayor Jeff Caggiano.
Some neighbors said at the public hearing last week that they were against recreational sales completely, fearing it would turn Bristol into a drug haven.
But Caggiano says the city’s medical dispensary is tied to retail sales.
State law allows existing medical dispensaries to convert to hybrid after paying a fee. Trulieve, a medical dispensary on East Main Street, serves 3,000 local patients monthly and is already making plans to become a hybrid.
“If we ban retail sales here, the highest likelihood is we also ask our medical dispensary to move to another town,” said Caggiano.
The Ordinance Committee is scheduled to finalize regulations this week and those decisions go to City Council next week for a possible vote.
The city is encouraging residents to voice their concerns at any of the upcoming meetings:
- City Council Meeting, September 13th at 7 pm at the Board of Education on Church Street
- Ordinance Committee Special Meeting, September 15th at 4 pm at the Bristol Public Library
- City Council Special Meeting, September 22nd at the Bristol Public Library (Time: TBA)