STRATFORD — Nearly a month after plans to open the town’s first dispensary fell through, a Michigan-based company is proposing to open a recreational cannabis store off Interstate 95.
C3 Industries, which operates about 20 dispensaries in the Midwest and New England, is seeking approval to open the facility in a 113-year-old building at 130 Honeyspot Road, the former Johnny’s Restaurant location, according to an application recently submitted to the town.
The company plans to construct a new entrance for the two-story structure and is aiming to renovate much of the existing building, which has sat empty for several years and has fallen into disrepair.
“The existing facade will be updated with fresh paint and new materials to match and replace existing materials,” Meaghan Miles, an attorney representing the company, wrote in the application. “Overall, this project proposes to bring a century-old building back to life, with significant site enhancements to the property as a whole.”
If approved by the Zoning Commission, the store would likely be the first dispensary to open in Stratford since state lawmakers legalized marijuana in 2021 for adults who are at least 21-years-old. The first recreational sales began earlier this year in a handful of towns and cities.
However, the application is not the first time a cannabis company has proposed opening a local dispensary. Earlier this year, the commission approved plans from Illinois-based Verano Holdings to open a retail facility on Stratford Avenue despite pushback from residents concerned about the store.
But the project ultimately fell apart after Verano learned the tenant currently occupying the Stratford Avenue building, a popular beauty supply store, held a multi-year lease preventing the company from taking over the property and converting the store into a dispensary.
A spokesperson for Verano, a national company that operates more than 100 dispensaries, including a pair in Connecticut, has said the company still plans to expand its footprint in the state, but has not yet announced any new locations.
The application comes as Stratford’s nascent cannabis industry begins to blossom. The commission recently approved plans from a local company to open a manufacturing center on Honeyspot Road to make cannabis-infused snacks, and a proposal from a Missouri-based company to open a facility on Hathaway Drive to grow marijuana.
C3 Industries, which was founded in 2018, began in Michigan before opening cultivation and retail facilities in Missouri and Massachusetts. In addition to Connecticut, the company is looking to expand into New Jersey and Illinois, according to its website.
“C3 has a long track record of cultivating, manufacturing and retailing high-quality cannabis products, with customer service and value at the center of its business plan,” company officials wrote in the application.
Site plans show the company plans to build a 100-square-foot addition on the rear of the property that will serve as a new main entrance for customers. They also plan to outfit the unfinished second floor with storage and office space and construct a new parking lot that will feature 25 spaces.
To prevent odor from escaping the building, the dispensary will rely on a carbon filtration system, according to the application. The plans also show the cannabis products will be stored in vaults and that the store will be monitored by video surveillance equipment.
Like the controversial dispensary that was briefly planned for Stratford Avenue, the Honeyspot Road location would be located in a largely residential area and within about a block from a church — the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church.
When the commission authorized the Stratford Avenue store, they set strict conditions to ease concerns from residents that the facility will upend life in the neighborhood, including a requirement that the store must be closed during Sunday worship services and that customers could only visit by appointment during its first two months. The requirements ultimately proved moot, but could be revived as a part of the new proposal.