Mayor requests 2nd look at placement of medical marijuana facility in Milford

Mayor Ben Blake has formally requested that the Department of Consumer Protection review the license application for a proposed medical marijuana dispensary at West River Street.
Blake pointed out that the proposed dispensary location at 255 West River is on the same street as Mathewson Elementary School, 738 feet from Cornerstone Christian Church, and directly across the road from a tutoring/child care facility.

“While Milford understands and supports the need to provide medical marijuana to patients suffering from diseases like cancer, glaucoma, Parkinson’s and MS, we must also ensure that a marijuana dispensary, like any commercial business, is situated in the appropriate location,” Blake said.

The mayor also called on the Department of Consumer Protection to revise the licensing review process, collaborate more with towns, and improve communications with local officials.

Milford officials were notified in January about the state’s decision to locate two new dispensaries within the city, the same day that residents learned about the decision through a state-generated news release.

“The licensing process would be much better if local and state officials teamed up and conducted an on-site field review for every proposed location. We need to work together,” Blake said.

A group of residents attended the March Board of Aldermen’s meeting to say they oppose the location of at least one of two facilities proposed in Milford.

The residents, most of whom live on or near West River Street, pointed out that the facilities would be near a school and school bus stops, and argued that they should not be in or near “residential neighborhoods.”

Jack Haas in a letter to the Milford Mirror in early March, wrote, “While the documented need for medical marijuana is heavy in Fairfield and New Haven counties, why is it that Milford seems to be the one town with two new dispensary sites and a possible third one?”

According to a state Department of Consumer Protection news release issued in January, the two new Milford dispensary facilities are Arrow Alternative Care #2, 255 West River Street and Southern CT Wellness & Healing, 318 New Haven Avenue.

In January, there were 8,228 medical marijuana patients registered in Connecticut. There are six such facilities in the state: These bring the total to nine facilities, according to a state spokesperson.

A third new dispensary is Caring Nature at 237 East Aurora Street in Waterbury.

Dispensary facilities are the only places in the state that may legally dispense medical marijuana to registered patients, the Department of Consumer Protection news release states. To register with the program, a patient’s physician must certify that they have one of 11 approved conditions and that the potential benefits from the palliative use of medical marijuana are likely to outweigh the risks.

The three new dispensary facilities were chosen through a competitive process, from 19 applicants that responded to a Request for Applications, according to the state press release. Each applicant was required to provide detailed information, including the applicant’s qualifications and experience, a business plan identifying the products and services it will offer, security features, and more.

Last September, Milford’s Planning and Zoning Board unanimously adopted regulations detailing where medical marijuana dispensaries and production facilities can be located.

Under the regulations, medical marijuana dispensaries may be located in Corridor Design Development Districts and the Milford Center Design Development District, all of which are commercial districts located along major roads. Medical marijuana production facilities may be located in Industrial and Limited Industrial Zones.

Dispensaries are businesses where qualifying patients and their caregivers may purchase medical marijuana. Production facilities, on the other hand, are indoor locations where marijuana is grown.