WILTON — The Wilton Board of Selectpersons on Tuesday discussed local marijuana sales and gave the Planning Board direction for developing guidelines for marijuana-based businesses.

Planning Board member Charlie Lavin attended Tuesday’s meeting to seek the board’s guidance because Wilton has no ordinances or moratoriums about businesses that grow or distribute pot.

Lavin said the Legislature is trying to push through a bill that would require communities to “opt in” and allow the sale, cultivation and testing of marijuana.

Now, however, Lavin said, communities essentially need to “opt out” and create their own restrictions for marijuana.

“Wilton has done neither, so what direction do you want the community to go?” Lavin asked the board.

Town Manager Rhonda Irish said when Wilton voted in the state referendum, the town turned down recreational use of marijuana by 20 votes.

“So as far as I’m concerned, it’s split 50-50,” Irish said.

Lavin cited Farmington’s policy as an idea. It limits the number of marijuana-related facilities allowed within the town.

Board member Keith Swett asked whether Farmington had limited the number of other types of businesses or retail establishments. Lavin said it had not.

Member David Leavitt suggested Wilton restrict the location of the establishments rather than the number.

A resident noted that all marijuana-related businesses cannot be lumped together. Some only sell, while others grow and manufacture, and a retail operation might lose an advantageous location because of town restrictions.

Lavin proposed that the businesses be separated into four categories: retail, cultivation, manufacturing and testing.

The retail establishments’ restrictions would be similar to the adult-business zoning table, which dictates where adult businesses may operate.

The cultivation businesses, which Lavin said already exist in town for medical purposes, and manufacturing establishments would have limited agriculture zones or controlled buildings. They would also not be allowed near residential areas.

Marijuana testing, Lavin said, should happen in a laboratory-type environment.

Once the Planning Board develops official regulations, the board expects to present them to the selectmen. Later, it would go to a public hearing.

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