Thursday, May 13, 2010

Marijuana Zoning Prohibition Denied

The Planning and Zoning Commission at their meeting Wednesday night voted down a proposed sweeping prohibition of marijuana distribution in the City of Middletown.

The proposed zoning code change would have read in its entirety "Sale or dispensation of marijuana and/or medical marijuana is prohibited [in all zones]." Marijuana sale would thus have joined gambling, junk yards, methadone clinics, alternate incarceration facilities, and other uses which "can be reasonably be considered to cause, despite existing environmental safeguards, hazardous or noxious conditions or which would violate Section 15.01, Performance Standards."

Performance Standards in Section 15.01 specify, "No land or structures in any zone shall be used or occupied in any manner so as .... to be, or likely to be, injurious to public welfare, to the health of human, plant or animal life or to property in the adjoining premises or surrounding area."

The zoning code change was proposed by the staff of the Planning Department. Assistant Director Michiel Wackers explained that the staff was worried that if marijuana became legal in Connecticut, and a dispensary opened in Middletown, it might be too late to write regulations which restricted their location. "We're trying to take a proactive stance. ... If it becomes legal, then we could look at regulation." He said that Middletown could be an attractive location, because The Daily Beast, an online magazine, ranked Middletown 39th among "America's most pot-loving communities."

In a memo to the Commission, Wackers cited the tensions which have roiled cities in California and Montana over the locations of marijuana dispensaries. Wackers raised as an example the recent firebombing of a dispensary in Billings, Montana.

There were no members of the public to speak on the proposed text change.

Commissioners were split on the proposal. Richard Pelletier agreed with Wackers' concerns, "If we don't do something now, we may end up with a situation like in California or Montana." Daniel Russo expressed his support, as did Barbara Plum.

Commission Chairman Quentin Phipps did not agree with his fellow Democrats. Phipps described the firebombing in Billings as a terrorist act and said, "I will not base laws on acts of terror." He agreed with alternate member Michael Johnson that zoning changes should not be based on statistics appearing solely in on-line newsmagazines like The Daily Beast. Commissioners Catherine Johnson, Les Adams, and Nick Fazzino joined Phipps in voting against the proposed zoning change.

In an interesting aside, Wackers revealed that state statutes already permit medical marijuana. Chapter 420b (Sec. 21a-246) reads, "Any person may possess or have under his control a quantity of marijuana less than or equal to that quantity supplied to him pursuant to a prescription...." Wackers said that enforcement of Federal drug laws had so far inhibited the legalization of medical marijuana in Connecticut.


Anonymous said...

Nice to see phipps selling out Middletown to Show of his clout. Easy bc his mom lives here his name is on a deed here but he resides in hartford. The reputable mtown press and courant both report drug use daily. Wackers chose a poor choice to cite but his point should not have been shot down. Thank god there ate rules banning meth clinics imagine if there were not! Middletown will pay dearly if it continues as a pot hotbedif even denying pot in Middletown is just as badas the known crack issue in the northend.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Phipps can read the Eye, and Wackers can use that to cite if the Democrats on the Council are in denial about drug use in Middletown. This was a stupid move not to ban marijuana distribution centers that will come back to bite us. Mr. Wackers did a fine job and too bad the Council Chair be littled his effort and the Democrats who were already half asleep voted along party lines out of fear instead of doing justice to Middletown. Maybe they are the ones smoking something!

Anonymous said...

Typical P&Z they can only react, totally not proactive.

They should listen to their professional staff. These are the same idiots that approved Public.

Anonymous said...

stop comparing pot to crack - that is totally nonsensical. tobacco and alcohol are both addictive harmful substances and marijuana is neither addictive or harmful. on the scale of drugs including alcohol, tobacco, prescription narcotics / painkillers, cocaine heroin etc, it is the fact that marijuana is the absolute least harmful. i would put it in the class with aspirin. talk about reactionary! maybe you should do some research.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous of 10:49

if you claim to have knowledge, then you should do some research yourself. Here's what i found out about marijuana users. Very interesting to say the least. So you cannot lie anymore, here are the REAL facts:

Marijuan intoxification causes problems in judgement, impaired coordinations, and depth perceptions.Long term use can lead to increased addiction to other drugs. Addictive potentials affect everyday family life and the ability to think rationally. Marijuana increases the heart rate 20 to 100 percent within a few minutes of smoking it. Placing the user at greater risk of heart attack.

Marijuana contains 50 to 70 percent more of carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke. Marijuana users hold their breathe longer, and take deeper inhales than regular tobacco users. Chronic marijuana use leads to increased rates of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and schizophrenia.

Chronic marijuana use, especially in a very young person, may also be a marker of risk for mental illnesses, including addiction, stemming from genetic or environmental vulnerabilities, such as early exposure to stress or violence.

So FYI Mr. Anononymous 10:39. Not as safe as you think!

Anonymous said...

Marijuana vs Aspirin. Hmm...lets see, Aspirin is a Non-Steroidal Anti-Immflamatory Drug (NSAID) not a controlled substance. Marijuana is a hallucinogenic carcinogin that cannot even be classified due to the various negative impacts on the body. Smoke another anonymous, clearly you have 1/2 a brain cell left. Common side effects of Asprin: Heartburn, nausea, indigestion. Common side effects of pot: "Fatigue, paranoia, possible psychosis, memory problems, depersonalization, mood alterations, urinary retention, constipation, decreased motor coordination, lethargy, slurred speech, and dizziness. Impaired health including lung damage, behavioral changes, and reproductive, cardiovascular and immunological effects have been associated with regular marijuana use. Regular and chronic marijuana smokers may have many of the same respiratory problems that tobacco smokers have (daily cough and phlegm, symptoms of chronic bronchitis), as the amount of tar inhaled and the level of carbon monoxide absorbed by marijuana smokers is 3 to 5 times greater than among tobacco smokers. Smoking marijuana while shooting up cocaine has the potential to cause severe increases in heart rate and blood pressure."( Where did you do your research? Please. If you had argued that perhaps it would fall in the same schedule as other controlled narcotics such as prescription pain killers, your argument would have merit. The fact that you compare it to Aspirin shows you are nothing more than an addicted stoner looking to justify your habit with delusion. Like I said dude, go smoke another LOL.

Anonymous said...

since you're both such talented researchers why dont you give us the facts on alcohol and tobacco. just about everything you both wrote , the same exact thing can be said for alcohol and/or tobacco. but those substances are legal and socially acceptable. look at the big picture. the problem is not the simple fact of use alone, it is having responsible use... just like with alcohol. think about it. and you are jumping to conclusions about a person you do not know based on a few written sentences - that is inane.

Anonymous said...

Since we're quoting that well-known authority on drugs and human health, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (which feels that 40,000-plus deaths a year on the roads is tolerable), here's more data from that august governmental agency: "In 2004, there were 16,694 alcohol-related fatalities reported, equal to one alcohol-related fatality every 31 minutes and representing 39% of the total traffic fatalities for the year. As of that same year, every State and the District of Columbia had created laws making it illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 g/dL or higher."

Sadly, national statistics aren't kept on traffic fatalities involving marijuana use -- so far as I am aware. Why not? Because the data would probably undermine the Drug War. James Fell of the NHTSA reported the following back in the 1990s:

"While drugs, other than alcohol, continue to be a highway safety problem in the USA, the magnitude and extent of the problem is much lower than alcohol. A national study of close to 2,000 fatally injured drivers conducted in 1990-91 in seven states in the USA revealed the following (Terhune et al, 1993):

-Alcohol was found in 52 percent of the driver fatalities.
-Drugs other than alcohol were found in 18 percent of these fatalities.
-64 percent of the drug cases also had alcohol.
-A drug was detected without alcohol in only 6.3 percent of the driver fatalities.
-Abuse drugs (.e.g., marijuana, cocaine) were found most frequently in the 25-54 age group.
-Marijuana and cocaine were found more frequently in urban crashes than in rural ones.
-Prescription drugs were found most frequently in the over 55 age group.
-Drugs were found mostly in males.
-Over 90% of drivers who had BACs >= .08 were responsible for their crashes.
-The differences in crash responsibility rate between all of the frequently occurring drug groups and the drug free group were found to be statistically insignificant."


Yet our laws permit the consumption of alcohol and prohibit, for the most part, the consumption of marijuana -- to say nothing of cocaine and other drugs. Surely it would be better to be consistent and either ban both or permit both. I favor the latter. And lots of policemen agree. See