Controversial ‘pot’ dispensary opens

Milford residents out in force to stop medical marijuana dispensary from opening in the neighborhood.

Milford residents out in force to stop medical marijuana dispensary from opening in the neighborhood.

MILFORD >> The state’s ninth medical marijuana dispensary has opened, the second in the city, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Consumer Protection said recently.

Arrow Alternative Care No. 2 is at 255 W. River St., despite the protests of neighbors who claimed it didn’t belong so close to a residences. The facility is in a commercial zone.

Mayor Benjamin G. Blake has said the dispensary is “terribly placed” and he advocated to keep it from getting a permit.

Blake, along with the Milford Prevention Council, are trying to get the Planning and Zoning Board to tighten its regulations — especially in regard to the nearness of residences — which some believe are too lenient.

Blake said he sought a moratorium two years ago on medical marijuana dispensaries. Officials have said Milford is an attractive location because it’s between New Haven and Fairfield counties and near major highways.

Neighbors packed City Hall auditorium the night the PZB gave local site plan approval because the project conformed with regulations.

Following the vote, Gail Haas, who lives four doors down from the facility, said neighbors “hope our worst fears don’t come true,” as the medical marijuana program grows.

“It’s disappointing,” she said of the vote last year. “I feel someplace, somewhere, someone dropped the ball and we’re paying for it.”

Arrow’s Milford dispensary was awarded a license in January 2016, along with Caring Nature LLC in Waterbury, and Southern CT Wellness & Healing LLC in Milford, which has opened.

There are 3,867 patients registered to purchase medical marijuana in New Haven County, Consumer Protection Department spokeswoman Lora Rae Anderson said.

Southern CT Wellness & Healing, 318 New Haven Ave., opened in August.

Connecticut is one of 28 states that have legalized medical marijuana and one of the few that uses a pharmaceutical model.