On November 9, 2021, the Planning and Zoning Commission voted to approve a temporary moratorium on cannabis establishments to allow the necessary time for the town to develop regulations that will not only meet statutory requirements, but also promote the general health, safety, and welfare of East Haddam’s residents. It allows the Commission and concerned citizens to have the opportunity to consider what it would look like to have a retail cannabis establishment in our community, what we want or do not want or whether we want to opt out entirely.
East Haddam is a town that prides itself on protecting its quiet, rural culture and the health and well-being of its children and families. The presence of a retail cannabis shop will have an impact on both. It will make it easier for kids in our community to access the drug and it will give a town “stamp of approval” to the cultural shift that is bound to happen.
A cannabis establishment is not just any retail shop. Despite what the industry would have us believe, marijuana is not simply a benign, natural substance. Similar to what happened with the tobacco industry, the cannabis industry has developed strains of marijuana and other more concentrated marijuana products with much higher levels of THC, the component that causes addiction. Compared to THC levels of 2 to 4% in the 80’s and 90’s, we are now seeing THC levels in the 17 to 28% range…even as high as 80% in the more concentrated products such as shatter, oil, wax, and edibles.
What is decided over the next several months will have a lasting effect on the landscape of our community. As residents, we have the power and responsibility to define what that looks like.