CHESHER – The Planning and Zoning Committee held a regulatory workshop late last month to discuss excluding the “small farmer” from the recently approved cannabis moratorium.
On January 24, the commission voted to ban applications to set up a cannabis-related business in Cheshire, with several commissioners saying they would feel more comfortable deciding on such businesses after the state provided additional guidance and more information about the local impact of the business. associated with cannabis. The PZC voted to exclude “small farmers” from the moratorium, paving the way for local farmers to reasonably grow and sell hemp. A public hearing on the exclusion of small farms is scheduled for Monday.
At the committee meeting on February 28, city planner Mike Glidden presented commissioners with documents on the guidelines that neighboring states are implementing.
Commissioner Jeff Natale said he wants to make sure there are regulations in place for ventilation and odor control.
Glidden said that other states where recreational cannabis is allowed, such as Massachusetts and California, have regulations to deal with issues like odor.
“What I’ve seen similarities between the different plans are items like charcoal filters, which would be needed to absorb any kind of odor,” Glidden suggested.
Commissioner John Cardras asked Glidden if there was a limit to the number of cannabis plants a small farmer could own.
“No, there is no limit,” Glidden replied. “But it has to fit the criteria of 10,000 square feet.”
Chairman Earl Kurtz III, who has agricultural experience, explained to the commissioners that while there may be no limit to the number of plants, it is not ideal to overcrowd the space with cannabis plants.
“It’s like if you had a tomato garden and planted like 50 tomato plants in one place, those tomatoes wouldn’t do any good,” he said. “It is much better if the plant has space to occupy. You can probably get a crop of better quality and size if you have a few plants.”
Kurtz said he’s not particularly concerned about odor control for such a small operation.
“Ten thousand small square feet,” Kurtz said. “Once the growth process exceeds 10,000 square feet, they are no longer considered small farms. They are full growers, and they will then be subject to the regulations of the farmer.”