Hartford mulls recreational marijuana sales

HARTFORD — Hartford city commissioners appear to be split over whether to allow recreational marijuana businesses in their city.

Med+Leaf, the only licensed and open medical marijuana facility in the city, on Monday requested that commissioners discuss the topic now that the state has released some rules regarding the facilities.

“We said we’d wait until the state had some rules in place, so I think if the state’s there, then now we should consider it,” Commissioner John Miller said.

He said he’d support adding a recreational ordinance to its current medical marijuana ordinance. The state has said that the only businesses allowed to apply for recreational licenses for the first two years are those facilities that are licensed to sell medical marijuana.

Doug Von Koenig, owner of Med+Leaf, said he’s interested in selling recreational at his facility because the only things he’d have to change are getting another safe to store the products separately at night, and not hire anyone under the age of 21. 

“Recreational would be an easy add-on because medical was so hard,” he said. “I’m just trying to get a sense from the city where you’re at on it.”

Commissioner Frank Dockter said while he supported medical marijuana, he does not support recreational.

Von Koenig argued that other medical marijuana businesses will not come to the city, even though 26 licenses are allowed, because they wouldn’t be able to get that other 50 percent profit from recreational. In addition, the city would get a share of taxes made from the sales, which it doesn’t receive from medical.

City Manager Yemi Akinwale said he’ll consult with the city’s attorney to discuss the topic before next month’s meeting.

Von Koenig said he could be ready to go to start selling recreational marijuana by early next year, if the city signals that it will approve a recreational marijuana ordinance.

But Miller cautioned Von Koenig, noting the split among commissioners. Miller, however, added that commissioners will discuss it.

In other business, Akinwale noted in his monthly report that the the city’s planning commission has approved the site plan and zoning application from Bloomhill, LLC, for a medical marijuana provisioning center, or dispensary.

He said the application package was reviewed by the city’s legal counsel and a few items need to be fixed. He said the city commission will give final approval on the application at its December meeting if Bloomhill gets the updated application to the city before then.

The business, which seeks to sell marijuana and marijuana-infused products for medical use, will be at 325 W. Main St. if approved.

Commissioners also heard a request from Shirley Cross to annex her property, along County Road 687, into the city through a 425 Agreement. Her property, right on the other side of I-94 and in Hartford Township, is being eyed by The Green Door in Bangor for a medical marijuana grow facility and provisioning center.

Cross said she is making the request because Hartford Township said it would not opt into allowing medical marijuana facilities.

Commissioners decided to find out more information and put it on the agenda for discussion at December’s meeting. 

Contact: anewman@TheHP.com, 932-0357, Twitter: @HPANewman