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January 20, 2022

Amid some confusion, DCP says all CT municipalities, regardless of size, can host recreational marijuana companies

PHOTO | YEHYUN KIM/CTMIRROR.ORG Medical marijuana grower CTPharma Solutions in Rocky Hill.

The state Department of Consumer Protection has clarified a key part of the state’s recreational marijuana law that has created some confusion about which Connecticut municipalities can host licensed cannabis businesses.

DCP recently announced that municipalities with less than 25,000 residents can host cannabis facilities, including one licensed dispensary and a micro-cultivation business.

Andrew C. Glassman, an attorney with Pullman & Comley, said there had previously been some confusion and uncertainty about the threshold. Glassman is a member of the law firm’s cannabis team and is co-chair of its business organizations and finance practice.

“I think it’s a big deal,” Glassman said of the clarification. “There were two interpretations of what the statute [originally] said: one was that you have to have a minimum of 25,000 residents in order to have a micro-cultivator or retail facility in your community, and the other interpretation was that you could have at least one of each if you had up to 25,000 residents.”

In its clarification of the law, DCP said “for every 25,000 residents in a town or city, there may be one licensed adult-use cannabis retailer and micro-cultivator. A municipality with fewer than 25,000 people can host one retailer and micro cultivator. A municipality must have no less than 50,000 residents to qualify for two retailers and micro-cultivators.”

Glassman said more than half of the state’s municipalities have populations of less than 25,000 people, so if they were restricted from hosting cannabis companies it could have impacted the industry’s growth. 

“If you look at northwestern Connecticut and northeastern Connecticut, that would have left most of those municipalities out of the process,” Glassman said.

Whether or not those smaller communities welcome the industry remains a question. Many municipalities in Connecticut have implemented temporary moratoriums on cannabis businesses, either because they want no part of the industry, or to come up with better rules on how to regulate it.

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