At the 9/13/21 Public Hearing of the Planning & Zoning Commission, all Commission members but one voted against allowing cannabis businesses in Clinton.
The hearing opened with a straight forward statement of opposition to cannabis businesses from Police Chief Vin DeMaio. Citing the blatant law enforcement restrictions within the marijuana law, the expansion of black market sales of marijuana, increases in driving under the influence and no road-side test for impairment, Chief DeMaio made it clear that the police are not in support of cannabis sales in town.
Numerous parents came forward and presented their concerns, as well as detailed data from states with legal marijuana such as Colorado, Massachusetts and California. The data included: information on the impact of legalization on teen use of marijuana and on their perception of harm of use; the link between mental illness and marijuana use; and how having a retail dispensary in a town is linked with more teenage use. One parent shared her family’s story of loss and how those losses were connected to marijuana. The resounding message from the parents who spoke was that Clinton needs to support the health of its citizens, specifically youth, and reject cannabis businesses. The Director of Human Services in Clinton also spoke, reminding the commission that youth who use marijuana have poorer life outcomes and greater incidence of depression as adults.
One resident spoke in favor of the changes to zoning, citing that the income from taxes on legal sales would come into the town and be of benefit.
The Commission deliberated for a short time at the end of their regular meeting and voted against changing the zoning to permit cannabis businesses.