Wilton Select board of directors sets marijuana license fee

WILTON – The board of directors unanimously approved the marijuana license fee for retail / medical marijuana stores and growers on Tuesday, October 19.

The approval followed the time allotted for public comments on the fee, but no one spoke.

The charges were formulated on the basis of the average of those of Farmington, Jay and Wilton (from an older version of the city ordinance).

There are different fees for the four levels of grow facility types, categorized by facility scale. The new fees are as follows:

• Retail / Medical Marijuana Store, $ 1,333

• Manufacturing, transformation or testing, $ 1,333

• Culture, level 1, $ 667 indoor or outdoor, 0-500 square feet.

• Culture, level 2, $ 1,667 indoor or outdoor, 501-2,000 square feet.

• Culture, level 3, $ 3,500 indoor or outdoor, 2,001 to 7,000 square feet.

• Culture, Level 4, $ 7,500 indoors or out, 7,001 to 30,000 square feet, additional $ 1,000 for each additional 7,000 square feet authorized by state.

The board of directors is setting the fees, rather than the voters, due to a change in the city’s marijuana ordinance at the June town hall meeting.

At the October 5 board meeting, John Black, owner of a medical marijuana facility and retail store in Wilton, took issue with the idea of ​​using a regional average. .

He said the charges should be “based on the actual numbers proposed by the city” for the time local services spend overseeing the facilities. These local services include city administration, police, fire and code enforcement.

In an interview after the meeting, President David Leavitt addressed these concerns and explained that the fees are a starting point. They can be reassessed in a year or two after the city has a better understanding of the time it is spending monitoring facilities, he said.

The council also addressed another of Black’s concerns – that individual caregivers who sell and grow marijuana in their private residences are not required to register with the city under its current ordinance on the use of marijuana. adults and medical marijuana. Under state law, individual caregivers are required to register with the state, but not with the local municipality.

“The state will say how many (registered caregivers) you have but will not tell you who they are,” explained CEO Rhonda Irish. “We can put (the obligation to register with the municipality) in (a new version of the ordinance) and hope that they manifest themselves, but it is not in our ordinance (nor required by the State).”

Selectperson Keith Swett said he believes Wilton should require individual caregivers to register with the city.

“Any business that is a store, whether it’s in your home or not, should be licensed with us. This business is no different from any other, ”said Swett.

Irish told the board that Black had informed her that the medical marijuana working group of the Office of Marijuana Policy, of which he is a member, was looking into this matter.

“It will make it a lot easier once the state makes the necessary changes to include it in the city ordinance,” Irish said. “(State laws) are very protective right now. “

In other cases, council has approved the language of a job description for the city’s proposed new event coordinator position. The city will have to hold a special municipal assembly to fund the post.

Irish suggested the funding came from the city’s tax increase funding district, as the work “would also involve economic development by trying to get people into the city.”

The job would involve planning for the Blueberry Festival, “some Christmas activities,” “expanded Halloween events” and possibly a summer barbecue among other events, Irish said. The city also wants the coordinator to do marketing, create new events, work with local businesses and perform other tasks.

The coordinator would also work with various city committees, organizations and councils, such as a new Blueberry Festival committee – which officials plan to establish now that the festival will be run by the city.

The city is looking for candidates who have experience planning special events, work independently, work with others and are proficient in Microsoft Office. They also prefer applicants with a post-secondary degree, but the Irish made it clear that this was not a requirement.

There would be seasonal hours for the position, as needed based on upcoming events. Irish initially proposed that the coordinator be paid $ 18 per hour. Recreation Department Director Frank Donald, who will oversee the coordinator, supported this salary.

“We can find someone qualified for $ 18 an hour,” Donald said.

He knows a qualified candidate with whom he would be “comfortable” working and who would agree with these salaries, he added.

However, Maiuri and Swett disagreed and said those salaries are not high enough for the type of candidates they are looking for.

“I don’t think you can hire someone with those qualifications for $ 18 an hour,” Swett said.

“There could be someone very qualified applying today if we get six or seven applicants and a superstar shows up who will need $ 22 an hour,” Maiuri said. “I went to see coordinators of similar events (they make) usually between $ 20 and $ 25 an hour. I think this is the lineup that would attract someone of those qualities and caliber.

Maiuri added that this position is “an investment” worth a higher salary.

“These kinds of events are what really push people to come to town, energize the community, generate income,” she said.

Maiuri brought forward a motion to approve the job description with a proposed salary range of $ 18-22 and it was passed unanimously.

Although they can’t hire anyone until funding is approved at a special town meeting, Leavitt has asked Irish to submit the ad now “to move forward”.

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