The Wilton Select Board discusses a moratorium on licenses for cannabis operations on Tuesday, April 4, due to an upsurge in new businesses. Recent changes in licensing fees have opened up Wilton to new growers and cannabis shops. From left to right, Selectpersons Phil Hilton and Keith Swett, Town Manager Perry Ellsworth, Board Chairperson David Leavitt, and Selectperson Tiffany Maiuri. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

WILTON — Town Manager Perry Ellsworth shared concerns over the expansion of cannabis cultivations and dispensaries in town on Tuesday, April 4, at the Select Board meeting.

According to Ellsworth, three new grow operations that fall within the tier one of cultivation [0-500 square feet] have been inspected with a fourth one currently underway. Ellsworth also shared the approval of a new growth facility/dispensary on Route 2, another one that is currently in talks and one that recently made an inquiry in setting up a shop.

Ellsworth suggested an emergency moratorium, which would mean a temporary prohibition of licenses for new growth and cultivation facilities as well as dispensaries.

“I feel that we’re out of control,” Ellsworth stated. “We ought to take a breather. We ought to have a moratorium on any new growth facilities until we take a look at it once again and decide whether we want to be the pot capital of the world along with Farmington or whether we want to be exploiting those things that we have that are best here.”

If passed, Ellsworth suggested dating it for the day of the meeting, even if the moratorium itself won’t be seen for several weeks.

Recently, the select board adjusted the rates of renewal for these facilities. Originally set at $667 for tier one growth operations, the board lowered it to $250 at a meeting on March 7.


This fee reduction followed another fee reduction in February with the cost of inspection fees for cannabis license renewal for medical marijuana businesses. The fee was lowered to $100 from $1,333 with Selectperson Tiffany Maiuri empathizing with the businesses.

“I’m more interested in having thriving businesses and more employees than I am trying to nickel and dime businesses out of a fee that I consider to be excessive,” Maiuri stated at the previous meeting.

Ellsworth made a point to say that he had nothing against cannabis and his concerns primarily stem from the effect having more growth operations could have on other town attractions.

“I think that we need to be careful with this because we have other things, such as this being a family recreational area and the lake, that concern me,” he stated. “If we have too much of this in the area, it could jeopardize a little bit, or some of them.”

Selectperson Mike Wells made a motion for Ellsworth to draft an emergency moratorium. Wells shared Ellsworth’s concerns. While he feels having a few businesses is adequate, Wells believes it “doesn’t fit with the overall culture of Wilton.”

At this same meeting, Wells expressed concerns over rising drug activity in the town of Wilton and established a committee to put together a neighborhood watch.

“I think we need to establish a moratorium until we can come to grips with what the nature of Wilton should be and I don’t see it as weed city,” Wells said.

The motion failed to gain a second, with Maiuri explaining that she believed zoning ordinances should be reexamined before putting a “blanket moratorium” on new cannabis facilities.

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