Shelton P&Z considers recreational pot moratorium

Advanced Grow Labs production team member Steve Hobart looks for unwanted pests or disease to keep the marijuana plants safe at the West Haven medical cannabis facility.

Advanced Grow Labs production team member Steve Hobart looks for unwanted pests or disease to keep the marijuana plants safe at the West Haven medical cannabis facility.

Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

SHELTON - Recreational-use cannabis businesses will not likely be sprouting up in the city anytime soon.

The Planning and Zoning Commission, at its meeting Tuesday, is considering a temporary moratorium on establishing recreational-use cannabis sales operations in the city, at least until new Shelton zoning regulations are created to address this issue.

Last year, the state legislature legalized marijuana in Connecticut. Beginning July 1, it became legal for adults older than 21 to have an ounce-and-a-half of marijuana, plus another five ounces in a locked container.

Retail sales in Connecticut are expected to begin as soon as this spring, under legislation approved by the state Senate last year.

The commission voted to refer the proposal to its zoning subcommittee, which will work with city corporation counsel Fran Teodosio on the appropriate language to create a temporary moratorium. There would be a time limit on the moratorium that is yet to be determined.

“This is for us to get a handle on this,” commission Chair Virginia Harger said about the need for the temporary moratorium. She added a moratorium would allow the city to determine if Shelton zoning regulations need to be amended.

“While the new state law permits municipalities to receive a 3 percent municipal sales tax for legal retail sales occurring within the municipality, there are those who are have legitimate concerns on how the regulations in this new state law would affect the quality of residential and commercial life we presently have in our community,” Harger said.

If the commission enacts a moratorium, Harger said the panel’s zoning subcommittee will continue to review the new state law and will prepare recommendations to present to the entire commission for consideration and action.

“This (moratorium) will give us time to prepare appropriate regulations,” commissioner Ruth Parkins said.

Harger said the zoning subcommittee will prepare the language, which will then be brought to the commission, which will set a public hearing before holding a final vote.

If the moratorium is approved, the commission will then create the new regulations concerning recreational-use cannabis sales. Once language for that is complete, it, too, will go before a public hearing before final commission approval.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com