Resident wants to grow medical marijuana
Updated 5:21 pm, Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Regulations to grow marijuana for medical purposes are still under consideration by the New Milford Zoning Commission.
Meanwhile, an application to grow medicinal pot has been brought to the zoners.
Ken Cherry, of Big Bear Hill Road, wants to grow medicinal pot on his 100-acre property
"My whole life has been involved with agriculture," said Cherry, 79, who holds degrees in agriculture and science. "I heard last fall that the state was legalizing medical marijuana.
"I'm totally against recreational use of marijuana, as now allowed in Colorado," he said.
Cherry pleaded his case Tuesday to the Zoning Commission during a public hearing about where dispensaries and growing operations might be allowed in New Milford.
He said he has contacted the state about cultivating marijuana. Cherry said a $25,000 fee would be required to apply and, unless all town permits are in place, he could lose that deposit.
The state permit to grow medical marijuana requires $100,000 cash, with a $2 million bond in place. Cherry calls that a deterrent to anyone who is licensed to grow planning to engage in illegal activities.
He has a 6,000-square-foot building and the three roads into his property are gated, he said. A security guard would be hired if his permit were to be approved, Cherry said.
The town's authority in the matter is limited to zoning approval of dispensaries and growing facilities' locations.
The state Department of Consumer Protection has overall purview in issuing licenses and regulating the facilities.
Zoners propose allowing dispensaries in B-1 and R-1 zones, with production facilities allowed in the B-2 zone. The Planning Commission has said this would run counter to the town's Plan of Conservation and Development.
Town Attorney Randy DiBella has told zoners unless regulations are in place about where a medical marijuana growing facility could be located, the commission would face being at odds with New Milford's Right to Farm ordinance if an application were to be submitted.
Cherry submitted his application Jan. 10. Whether he would bring suit against the town if his application for a growing facility were to be denied -- given that no regulations are yet in place -- waits to be seen.
"We are leaving the public hearing open so people can come forward with any thoughts on this," said Sharon Ward, commission vice chairman. "We welcome all input."
The public hearings on dispensaries and growing facilities are scheduled to continue Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.