Connecticut locals protest Cannabis facility near schools
A proposed cannabis cultivation center has residents of a Connecticut community up in arms.
Local news station WFSB reports that the facility, which is being built in New Britain, Connecticut, will be “close to five schools, some of which are less than a mile away.”
Locals in New Britain are concerned about that proximity, citing the expected odor from the new cultivation center.
“How should we explain to our children who want to play outside what that smell is? How should the teachers at [the schools] explain to their students that the city is more concerned with revenue than their own health and wellbeing,” New Britain resident Shelley Vincenzo told the station.
“I’m not against marijuana, we know the goods and the bad for it. What I’m against is having that kind of establishment in a community that’s been trying to thrive and trying to build into something that’s better than marijuana,” said Franciso Santiago, also of New Britain, as quoted by WFSB.
But all those objections are apparently moot, as “the proposal still passed with the amendment that the developers must install and maintain an odor control mitigation system approved by the department of public health.”
The construction developer behind the project “says an odor control plan will be submitted to the city,” according to the station.
Legal recreational cannabis sales kicked off in Connecticut last month after the state’s Democratic governor, Ned Lamont, signed legislation ending the prohibition on pot back in 2021. The Associated Press reported that state-approved “shops in Branford, Meriden, Montville, New Haven, Newington, Stamford and Willimantic were expected to open their doors to the general public on the first day,” with another two dispensaries “in Danbury and Torrington” slated to open later.
“That’s why I introduced a bill and worked hard with our partners in the legislature and other stakeholders to create a comprehensive framework for a securely regulated market that prioritizes public health, public safety, social justice, and equity. It will help eliminate the dangerous unregulated market and support a new, growing sector of our economy which will create jobs,” Lamont said in a statement at the time of the bill signing.
“By allowing adults to possess cannabis, regulating its sale and content, training police officers in the latest techniques of detecting and preventing impaired driving, and expunging the criminal records of people with certain cannabis crimes, we’re not only effectively modernizing our laws and addressing inequities, we’re keeping Connecticut economically competitive with our neighboring states.”
On the day that legal sales began in Connecticut last month, Lamont said that it marked “a turning point in the injustices caused by the war on drugs, most notably now that there is a legal alternative to the dangerous, unregulated, underground market for cannabis sales.”
In addition to laying the groundwork for a regulated retail cannabis market, the new law put thousands of Connecticut adults on the road to having their records cleared.
Lamont announced in December that about 44,000 individuals would be getting their low-level marijuana convictions expunged in the new year.
“On January 1, thousands of people in Connecticut will have low-level cannabis convictions automatically erased due to the cannabis legalization bill we enacted last year,” Lamont said. “Especially as Connecticut employers seek to fill hundreds of thousands of job openings, an old conviction for low-level cannabis possession should not hold someone back from pursuing their career, housing, professional, and educational aspirations.”