Second cannabis retail store receives Norwich zoning permit

Norwich ― A second cannabis retail store has received zoning approval for a West Main Street location — this time a hybrid recreational-medical marijuana dispensary.

CTPharma Norwich LLC of Chicago received approval this week for a retail cannabis store at the former site of West Side Medical Center, a walk-in medical clinic at 606 W. Main St.

The application calls for hybrid sales of adult-use recreational cannabis and medical marijuana to qualifying patients. The permit was approved Monday, runs through Sept. 26, 2027, and is conditional upon CT Pharma Norwich receiving a state license for cannabis retail sales.

In Norwich, retail cannabis stores are permitted in commercial zones by administrative permit approval, with similar restrictions to those in place for package stores.

Cannabis retail stores must be at least 1,500 feet apart from each other. The CTPharma Norwich facility is the second one to receive zoning permit approval on West Main Street. The first would located at the former Family Dollar store at 425 W. Main St.

Zoning Enforcement Officer Richard Shuck said the two facilities meet the separation requirements. Initially, state regulations would have limited Norwich to no more than two recreational cannabis retail stores, but the restriction has been lifted, Shuck said.

The new state law that legalized adult recreational cannabis calls for the host municipality to receive 3% of retail sales revenue. The law licensing gives preference to locations in cities that were disproportionately affected by the so-called war on drugs under a social equity provision in thje law. Norwich is one of the designated cities given that status.

Norwich has been marketing the city as a welcome site for both retail cannabis sales outlets and much larger cannabis cultivation facilities. One cultivator has announced plans in August to move into the former Mr. Big’s discount department store building on Eighth Street.

According to its application, CTPharma Norwich would offer, “prepackaged wholesale cannabis products for sale to qualified adult use customers and dispense medical marijuana products to qualified medical patients.” All products would be stored in a state-approved vault, the application stated.

CTPharma Norwich LLC is part of a larger Chicago-based company, Verano. The application was submitted by Rino Ferrarese. Ferrarese referred questions about the Norwich plan to company officials.

Company spokesman Steve Mazeika issued an email statement Thursday on the plan. Mazeika wrote that Verano currently operates a 210,000-square-foot cannabis cultivation and processing facility in Rocky Hill and two medical marijuana retail outlets, Willow Brook Wellness in Meriden and Caring Nature in Waterbury.

“In addition to the proposed location in Norwich, the company will continue exploring additional retail options in the state, including social equity joint venture dispensary partnerships and opportunities for wider distribution of its products, ahead of the state’s transition to adult-use cannabis sales, ” Mazeika wrote.

The Verano website states the company produces more than 150 strains of marijuana products at 13 cultivation and production facilities. The company has more than 100 Verano-owned dispensaries and has more than 4,000 employees.

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