Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

Updated: November 7, 2022

Derrick Gibbs finds new W. Hartford home for dispensary

Derrick Gibbs Jr.

After being rejected in his hometown city, a cannabis entrepreneur's plans to open an adult-use dispensary in West Hartford is moving forward.

Derrick Gibbs, CEO and founder of Middletown-based homecare and behavioral health provider Change Incorporated, said his equity joint venture cannabis retailer Budr Hartford LLC received a letter of approval from West Hartford this week allowing him to move forward with his business.

Gibbs said he’s renting the building at 1037 Blvd., West Hartford, and is currently finalizing site plans with his team and the town’s building department before going out to bid for local construction contractors to outfit the site into a cannabis dispensary.

West Hartford wasn’t Gibbs’ first choice when it came to the business — a few miles east in Hartford was. Gibbs and his business partners were initially under contract to purchase 89 Arch St., Hartford, a 2,500-square-foot building, which was put up for sale at the end of last year after Blind Pig Pizza closed.

But the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) opposed having a cannabis business in the Adriaen's Landing area, and the city’s assistant corporation counsel Richard Vassallo in July wrote to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission that the CRDA has authority over the property.

The plan’s for the downtown Hartford site eventually fell through.

Gibbs expressed disappointment he couldn’t be in Hartford, but said West Hartford has been great to work with. He said he’s in the process of establishing a nonprofit organization that can contribute non-cannabis-related money to organizations and communities in Hartford to keep his connection with his hometown.

“A guy comes from Hartford, born and raised in Hartford on Vine Street in the North End — I thought it was a positive thing to come back to my community and provide that 3% tax revenue to the city of Hartford to go to education, roads, fire, police,” Gibbs said. “Then I get denied. I didn’t initially look to towns like West Hartford, Glastonbury, Avon, Farmington or towns that don’t necessarily need that 3% tax revenue. … Hartford needs it more than West Hartford.”

West Hartford has been very progressive when it comes to marijuana, Gibbs said. The town doesn’t require cannabis business applicants to go to the Planning and Zoning Commission or participate in public hearings for approvals: businesses in qualified zones are allowed similar to normal retail stores.

Gibbs said his dispensary will take up between 3,500 to 4,000 square feet of the property, but there’s another 1,500-square-foot section that can be used for take-out food services. He said he’s marketing that section of the property to other businesses that would like to operate next to a dispensary.

In addition to Gibbs, the business lists Nancine Crump and New York resident Carl Tirella as principals. Tirella is a former manager for New York-based multistate operator Acreage Holdings’s Connecticut locations, but Budr is actually partnering with Green Thumb Industries for its equity joint venture.

The Chicago-based company in 2009 announced its acquisition of Advanced Grow Labs, one of the state’s four cultivators with a production facility in West Haven. Green Thumb Industries also purchased the BluePoint Wellness dispensary in Branford and later opened another in Westport.

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF