One Chester Planning & Zoning Commission (PZC) member stated the marijuana issue creates a “passionate response.” Phrases like this are often code for an “irrational response.” This member said there’s confusion about medical versus recreational marijuana. Indeed, there is. Confusion is due to the effects of marijuana being grossly under-researched. Research that has been done indicates potential long-term damage to the adolescent brain among other adverse effects. Confusion is also due to the Connecticut legislature now considering recreational marijuana. Confusion is also due to marijuana being illegal at the federal level, but currently unenforced.
Another member stated kids are going to get drugs anyway, so why worry? Of course, with this logic, why do anything? This member also repeated he doesn’t like to prohibit things. Well then, he shouldn’t be sitting on the PZC, because that’s what zoning regulations are—prohibitions.
Another commission member provided a similar, commonplace argument stating there are other dangerous drugs, so why worry? Another commission member was more worried about what the signage would look like. This member stated he would prefer a dispensary be located on Middlesex Turnpike rather than the village center. Why? If there is nothing wrong with the production and dispensing of marijuana, why wouldn’t you want it in the center of your town?
If the Chester PZC wanted to prohibit the production and dispensing of marijuana, it could. Towns across Connecticut are beginning to do so. The Connecticut Supreme Court in a recent case found that to protect health, safety, and welfare, a town could issue prohibitions, up to and including an outright ban.
If, after proper scientific research, there actually proves to be medicinal value with any of the more than 400 chemicals found in marijuana, then it can follow the same course as every other approved medicine.