Hartford may allow 26 medical marijuana licenses

HARTFORD — Hartford could allow 19 more medical marijuana licenses in its city limits.

The city commission did a first reading Monday night of an amendment to its medical marijuana ordinance.

The city’s original medical marijuana ordinance, approved in November 2017, allowed one of each type of license/facility.

The amendment proposes allowing four more Class A (500 plants) growing licenses, two more Class B (1,000 plants) growing licenses and four more Class C (1,500 plants) growing licenses. It also proposes an additional four processing facilities, one more secure transporter, three more dispensaries and one more safety compliance facility.

This brings the total up to 26 allowed licenses, if approved by the city and state.

A committee of three commissioners came up with the proposed amendment and said this would account for all of the people interested in opening medical marijuana businesses in the city. At least one dispensary and two grow operations, with multiple growing licenses and a combined processing facility, have been proposed.

Commissioner Frank Dockter, who had been against marijuana in the city previously, sat on the committee and said his mind has been changed after going through everything.

“It’d be a blessing to have one out at the race track. I think that vacant land on Marion Street is a good spot to put a place,” he said. “The other people that want to put a distribution shop in an old building and a couple of stores in there, I think would be an asset to the community. I got to say in my opinion, I think everything we’re doing will help the city of Hartford.”

Commissioner Terry Tibbs expressed his disagreement. “We have a bad enough drug problem now, why don’t we just do more.”

Commissioner Dennis Goss said he wouldn’t care if it were donut shops, because this just makes financial sense for the city.

“Right now we’re looking at $80,000 a year just in fees for just what is being asked for, if all of them open,” he said. “That’s not including a proposed $7 million building that’s going to be taxed that right now is vacant land owned by the city that we’re getting nothing on. So what’s taxes on that building? A lot. So we’re well over $200,000 a year that we could be getting that we’re not currently getting, and we’re having trouble replacing Prospect Street.”

A second and final reading of the ordinance will take place at the business meeting on Sept. 23.

City leaders earlier this year opted to not allow businesses related to recreational marijuana sales.

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