GUILFORD – The Board of Selectmen unanimously voted this week to hold a public hearing regarding the temporary moratorium on marijuana establishments in town.
The hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 7 at 8:30 a.m., with the location to be determined.
Independent Charles Havdra, Democrats Louis Federici and First Selectman Matthew Hoey, and Republican Susan Renner voted in favor of the hearing; Democrat Sandra Ruoff was not present for the meeting.
The purpose of the hearing, Hoey said, is to “obtain public comment and consider enactment or revision of the ordinance extending the temporary moratorium on cannabis establishments in Guilford.” The board will also entertain comments about the issue at large, beyond the moratorium.
The moratorium is currently in effect until Dec. 31.
Hoey told CT Examiner on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect a vote on the issue during the public hearing.
“We’ve had a moratorium for a couple years,” he said. “We as a board have not been comfortable with it until we got some community input.”
The board has conducted two polls regarding marijuana so far, Hoey explained. The first poll garnered about 1,000 responses, with nearly 65 percent of people in support of some kind of marijuana legalization, whether it be through dispensaries or cultivation. The second poll only had 70 responses and was inconclusive.
Hoey said he attempted to add a marijuana moratorium advisory question on the ballot for this year’s municipal elections, but the state ruled advisory questions could not be included. Wanting more than what was seen as anecdotal commentary from the community, the first selectman said the board upheld the moratorium for the time being.
“We wanted to put together a document including conversations we had,” he said. “It would include limitations on the number of establishments, the restriction to certain zones, distance from schools, churches and day cares, and a position on whether it would include just retail sales or what would extend to other aspects like cultivation.”
The state has defined 11 different types of marijuana businesses, and Hoey said he wants to fine tune the document with the Board of Selectmen following the public hearing. He anticipates the board creating more polls and community meetings once the parameters are more clearly defined.
At any point, he said, the board could lift the moratorium and the Planning and Zoning Commission would have to accept applications for a marijuana-related business.