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    Saturday, October 01, 2022

    Cannabis cultivator looks to open facility in Norwich

    Norwich ― A Rhode Island-based, multi-state cannabis cultivation operation is poised to become the city’s first cannabis cultivation company with plans to locate in the former Mr. Big’s department store on Eighth Street in Greeneville.

    CT Plant Based Compassionate Care LLC in partnership with Sweetspot Brands LLC, announced Monday it has received approval from the Connecticut Social Equity Council to place a proposed 52,000-square-foot cannabis cultivation operation in the city.

    Because the city is designated as a community disproportionally impacted by the so-called war on drugs, the state law that legalized adult-use recreational marijuana provided favorable competitive siting of cannabis facilities in these communities.

    Norwich city and economic development officials have aggressively marketed the city to cannabis cultivators for more than a year, hoping to land both cultivation operations and retail outlets.

    “We set out over a year ago that Norwich was going to welcome this burgeoning industry,” Mayor Peter Nystrom said in response to Monday’s announcement. “And we’re very happy it’s working out. It represents jobs. It represents utility revenues, and it represents grand list growth.”

    CT PBC and Sweetspot next must apply to the state Department of Consumer Protection for a provisional license.

    The company’s announcement said the Norwich facility would create more than 40 high-paying jobs with competitive benefits, “and is expected to provide over $7 million in economic stimulus to the local area during construction.”

    Sweetspot, which has been in business more than five years, operates cultivation and retail affiliates in Rhode Island, Maryland, Maine and New Jersey. The company’s news release touted its recyclable water irrigation system, LED lighting to conserve energy and pesticide-free growing practices.

    “We have been working closely with Norwich officials and community leaders to lay the groundwork to open a cultivation facility in the city,” Ben Herbst, chief business development officer of Sweetspot, said in the news release. “The Norwich community has been hugely supportive of our efforts, and we are very excited to partner with them as we move forward on workforce development and the municipal approval process.”

    Nystrom praised Norwich Community Development Corp. President Kevin Brown for his work to lure new cannabis businesses to the city. NCDC has hosted and attended several statewide cannabis forums catering to potential developers. Brown has stressed that while other municipalities have enacted moratoriums on allowing cannabis businesses, Norwich has opened the door and approved zoning regulations to ease the siting process.

    Brown told city officials Monday that the CT PBC-Sweetspot announcement is the first to name Norwich as the proposed location for its operation.

    “Hopefully, this will be followed soon by another … and maybe another,” Brown wrote in an email to city leaders.

    c.bessette@theday.com

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