Winsted: Medical marijuana needed

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed the medical marijuana program into law back in June 2012, after it was approved by the state Senate. As of this year, 29 states across the country have medical marijuana programs. According to Connecticut’s website on medical marijuana, residents can qualify for it here if they are suffering from one or more of 22 debilitating medical conditions, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and cerebral palsy.

A great amount of time and medical research has been used to establish this program. Right now, there are nine medical marijuana dispensaries in the state and none of them are located in Litchfield County. If a potential Winsted facility is approved by both the commission and the state, the town should seriously consider giving it its own approval. It would provide a much-needed service for Connecticut residents who have a  state-mandated right to this medical treatment.

There was a failed effort to approve a Winsted dispensary in 2014. As the topic is resurfacing, the debate on the legitimacy of the medicinal use of marijuana has gone on for quite some time, as heard at the first public hearing during the process this time around. But the job of the Planning and Zoning commissioners is not to act as a medical ethics board. It is, rather, to be sure they follow the zoning regulations in reference to this new service being offered in Winsted.

Winsted’s Planning and Zoning Commission has scheduled a second public hearing to discuss an application for a special permit to open the medical marijuana dispensary for Monday, March 12, at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. All those concerned with the facility and its impact on this town and the Northwest Corner should be there.