Danbury gets its first pitch for a recreational cannabis company

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DANBURY — Once the site of an equipment rental business, the white pill box building on the property at 108 Federal Road is now quietly surrounded by a chain-link fence.

But its dormant status could change in the coming months if the owners of a new adult cannabis retail business successfully obtain a preliminary license from the state that would allow the business to sell marijuana to people. recreational customers.

Carl Tirella, co-founder of BUDR Hartford Holding LLC, said the entity had successfully obtained one of the first state-issued Equity Joint Venture retail licenses, with plans to begin sales from its potential Danbury location early next year. The company is seeking zoning approvals from the city’s Planning Commission, which will hold a public hearing on the matter on November 2.

“We were targeting the Danbury area and we were able to find a building that complied with the regulations which have just been approved and we applied as early as last week, submitted all the documents and we received our provisional certificate (Monday) and submitted that to the city, and then we’ll be in court and we hope to be approved on November 2,” Tirella said Tuesday.

Under the state’s recreational marijuana law, an applicant for a joint venture must partner with a licensed producer, “disproportionately affected area” grower, or existing dispensary, and must be at least 50% owned and controlled by an individual, or individuals who “had an average household income of less than 300% or three times the state’s median household income in the last three tax years.”

The Social Equity Partner must also show that they were either “a resident of a disproportionately affected area for at least five of the past 10 years” or “a resident of a disproportionately affected area for at least nine years” before reaching the age of 18.

Unlike applicants for other types of cannabis licenses, those applying for joint venture approval do not participate in a lottery process; instead, they are vetted and screened by the state’s Social Equity Council, a special body charged with overseeing cannabis licensing in the state.

After building a career in finance and project management, Tirella explained how he left his last job at Acerage Holdings, a major cannabis company that runs a medical marijuana dispensary in Danbury and has licenses to grow, treat and distribute marijuana in multiple states. , in March and co-founded BUDR with Derrick Gibbs, the chief executive of Middletown-based Change Incorporated, an organization providing mental health services to clients in Connecticut.

In order to become eligible for an Equity Joint Venture license, the couple then linked up with Nancine Crump, a Middletown resident who qualified as a Social Equity Candidate under the state’s cannabis laws and licensee. an existing cannabis license.

“(We) partnered with an existing operator and used their license to work with a social equity candidate to create a retail (dispensary) business in the state,” he explained.

Citing a company request, Tirella declined to identify the name of the ‘existing operator’ but explained how Danbury has become an attractive option for the group’s planned location, citing the city’s focus on a “community-driven process” when it comes to licensing cannabis. retailers.

Calls made to Danbury planning officials on Tuesday for information about the app went unreturned.

Passed in August, Danbury’s marijuana regulations limit the number of marijuana businesses so that no more than four can operate at any one time throughout the city, and they would be confined to certain commercial and industrial areas where they do not encroach. not on schools, parks and homes. of worship. Seven other types of marijuana businesses, such as making cannabis foods and drinks, are not allowed under local rules.

Approval of the city bylaws ended a temporary moratorium on cannabis establishments that was put in place by city officials last summer after the state legalized marijuana for recreational use; but it also prompted BUDR to open a site in Danbury, according to Tirella.

“(Danbury) has a limited license structure (allowing) a hybrid retailer, a medical and a cannabis retailer, so that was obviously attractive,” Tirella said.

In a bid to open multiple locations in Connecticut, Tirella added, “Danbury may or may not be the first and/or the last.”

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