Many of our neighbors met with the Fairfield Town Plan and Zoning Commission Sept. 24 in a public hearing to discuss locating a medical marijuana facility in a small strip mall on the Post Road near the Bridgeport border. Petitions were delivered and voices were heard, and no one was in favor of this plan.

We are concerned about the safety of our children, security of our neighborhood, and the very real threat of crime associated with a facility dedicated exclusively to dispensing marijuana. We heard nothing from the petitioner except maybes, "we think so" and "that is our hope." No data. No concrete plans. No mention of how the kids boarding the school bus across the street will be protected in the event of a robbery or any other illicit activity.

The petitioner, who is associated with at least 10 companies in several states, heads Connecticut Wellness Centers LLC. One of his other businesses is a marijuana farm in West Haven called Keep On Growing LLC. This farm would provide the marijuana for the proposed Fairfield dispensary. We are told that the product would be transported with two armed guards in a secure truck. Those of us who live nearby are not reassured. We envision a possible shootout at the corner of our street between determined criminals and the guards, or something less dramatic, such as an armed robbery or a simple mugging of the patron leaving with what can only be marijuana.

Medical marijuana may or may not be legal, depending on whether you consult state or federal law. In either case, we are profoundly disappointed that we only learned of this plan a few days after the initial TPZ meeting, thanks only to a prominent story in our local newspaper. We feel even more betrayed that Fairfield County has been targeted as the host of what can only be called a grand experiment, given the lack of specifics in the plan discussed last night. Many of us feel that a facility such as this should be located in a more secure area, perhaps a medical office complex. The product is positioned for use by patients with cancer and a variety of other disorders. The dispensary should be closer to these treatment facilities, not in a small strip mall with a laundromat, restaurants and a car-rental facility.

This is not just a local issue for our neighborhood. There seems to be some fixation about locating at least one of these dispensaries in Fairfield, and we all need to raise our voices against it.

Ray Wilhelm