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Ridgefield panel hears from cannabis industry officials as retail sales considered

The Ridgefield Economic and Community Development Commission has led a discussion about retail cannabis.  During the virtual meeting Monday night, advocates and industry officials from other states weighed in on the pros and cons of retail sales. 

When Connecticut legalized recreational use of cannabis, it was left up to local leaders to determine how their communities would approach retail sales.  The gathering was held for the Commission and the community to better understand the economic drivers, tax revenue opportunities, and impact on commercial real estate. 

They also learned what other issues may be involved in oversight.  The ECDC will make a recommendation on the economic viability of retail cannabis to the Board of Selectmen.  

Massachusetts-based Canna Provisions CEO Meg Sanders participated.  She noted that allowing sales just for a revenue boost is not a reason.  Sanders says the industry has a cumulative impact on a community through competitive jobs and bringing in customers who stop at other places like restaurants, stores, hotels, and gas stations.  Sanders says dispensaries shouldn't be included in industrial zones, but rather in retail areas.  She added that issues like parking and traffic volume should be addressed up front, like any other application.

Co-owner Erik Williams noted that there's strong local control over zoning in Massachusetts, as in Connecticut.  He believes zoning boards should go through each applicant's business plan and traffic counts, and that the guidelines should apply like all other retailers.

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Todd Schnitt

Local Headlines