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May 3, 2022

Multistate cannabis operator eyes Newington hybrid marijuana dispensary on Berlin Turnpike

COSTAR Verano Holdings Corp. has also won local approval for a hybrid adult-use cannabis dispensary in town at 2903 Berlin Turnpike, Newington.

A multistate cannabis operator has applied for a special permit to convert a vacant Newington retail building into a hybrid adult-use cannabis dispensary, which would sell recreational and medical marijuana products.

The property is located at 2903 Berlin Turnpike, the former home of the Bonefish Grill restaurant.

The applicant is Chicago-based Verano Holdings Corp., which purchased Willow Brook Wellness medical dispensary in Meriden in November and recently announced plans to buy Waterbury dispensary Caring Nature.

Verano also recently closed on an acquisition of Connecticut Pharmaceutical Solutions Inc. (CTPharma) in December. CTPharma has a cultivation and production facility in Rocky Hill as one of the state’s four licensed medical cannabis growers.

A public hearing is set for 7 p.m. May 11 before the Town Plan and Zoning Commission. The property is owned by GLM1867 Realty LLC, Newington Realty Inc.

Approval would be conditional upon Verano receiving a license from the state Department of Consumer Protection. The approval would expire if Verano fails to obtain a state license within six months.

The location is in the town's newly established PD zone, which allows adult-use cannabis facilities. Verano says it chose Newington based on its proximity to other towns and "favorable building site." 

A traffic study, conducted by KWH Enterprise, found the dispensary would generate an estimated 51 vehicular trips in the morning, 91 in the afternoon and 138 during Saturday midday peak hours.

Those trips represent 2% to 3% of traffic on the busy Berlin Turnpike, the application says.

The building and parking lot would remain unchanged. The driveway has one right-turn, entry-only driveway on Berlin Turnpike and one general access driveway on Main Street located away from Berlin Turnpike.

The increase in site trips “will not significantly impact traffic movements,” the study found.

The proposed hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Wednesday; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday and Friday; and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

Under the proposal, separate check-in and check-out areas would be designated for medical and recreational customers. Products are prioritized to medical patients.

"We will analyze the product supply chain, with the help of DCP and other producers, to make sure sufficient supply is available to patients," the application says.

A pharmacist will be on-site to consult with medical patients and assist with questions. Patient consultations will take place in private areas to maintain confidentiality, the application says. Patient records will be stored in compliance with HIPAA.

For recreational sales, a "greeter" will check driver's licenses of customers before they enter to ensure they're at least 21. Upon checkout, staff will perform a second verification by checking the customer's ID.

All purchases will use point-of-sale tracking through seed-to-sale tracking systems.

Employees will use a separate entrance. Deliveries will be immediately inventoried and transferred to a vault, where all cannabis products are stored. During business hours, a day gate will limit access to the vault. After hours, the vault will be closed and locked.

All areas of the dispensary, except for the restrooms, are under video surveillance. The burglar system uses motion detectors, glass break, seismic and sonic detectors.

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