Gorgeous Sleeping Bear State Park in Hamden, Conn., which was really the only good license-free photo we could find of Hamden. Credit: GPA Photo Archive / Flickr

The weekly return of Connecticut’s High Bazaar to its original location last month was short-lived, following a second court injunction following a motion for contempt from the Town of Hamden.

Judge Michael Kamp ordered the event’s organizers to “cease and desist from all activities directly related to operating a cannabis bazaar at the property known as 18 Crest Way, Hamden Connecticut, 295 Treadwell Street, Hamden, Connecticut or any other property within the town.”

The weekly event, which ran afoul of the town’s zoning code and safety restrictions, featured the “gifting” of cannabis and cannabis products while patrons simultaneously offer donations in return.

Last month, Kamp approved a motion for an injunction to block the bazaar, but it continued unabated albeit in a new location. This time, Judge Kamp authored his own injunction making it clear that the Bazaar would not be allowed anywhere within Hamden, at least until its court case is settled.

“It is further ordered that the Hamden Police is authorized to enforce the terms of this order,” wrote Judge Kamp in the injunction.

[Download the injunction]

The original motion for injunction, which came from the town’s Zoning Enforcement Officer, cited safety and zoning concerns.

“The operation of the cannabis bazaar poses a threat to the public health, safety, and welfare to the residents of the Town of Hamden and the patrons who attend the cannabis bazaar,” said the town’s motion for contempt. “Due to the repeated and continuous violation of the Court’s order, the plaintiffs respectfully request that the Court hold the Defendants Accettullo and New England Craft Cannabis Alliance in contempt of court.”

[Download the filed affidavits]

The High Bazaar, which had taken place almost every week in Hamden since the state first legalized adult use cannabis, was made possible by the portion of the state cannabis law that allows two individuals to give each other cannabis in the form of a gift. Presenters at the event could request specific donations but were not allowed to make direct sales.

Amid the growth of the Bazaar in Hamden, the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission approved a one-year ban on any new cannabis licensing last December. This followed Hamden Mayor Lauren Garrett’s announcement that the town was establishing a cannabis task force to craft new zoning and social equity ordinances. Acettullo is one of the members of that task force.

Two months later, the town filed for an injunction in New Haven Superior Court to halt the cannabis meetup, ostensibly because the Bazaar’s increasing popularity had turned it into a zoning and safety hazard.

The original complaint from the Town of Hampden, filed on Feb. 9, stated that about 500-1,000 people attended the Bazaar on Feb. 5 and 6, congesting the immediate area and creating a potential safety hazard.

Judge Kamp approved an injunction on Feb. 10 barring the High Bazaar from continuing at the indoor location where it moved when the weather got cold last year.

Two days later, the Bazaar returned to the parking lot where it started, despite the injunction barring the event in any location.

In subsequent court filings, the town’s Fire Marshall, Zoning Enforcement Officer and Police Chief all signed affidavits that the organizers of the High Bazaar had failed to obtain proper permits for their event at the outdoor location.

The three affidavits, which all have essentially the same language when recounting the alleged violations, said that the outdoor location lacked adequate parking, that organizers failed to show the fire marshal where emergency access would be and failed to show that there would be enough restrooms.

“The cannabis bazaar at 295 Treadwell Street poses a threat for the public, health, safety, and welfare of the patrons of the event and the resident[s] of the Town of Hamden,” said all three affidavits.

The town and the organizers of the High Bazaar will return to court on Wednesday, March 2, to determine if the injunction against the bazaar will remain in place.

Joseph Raymond Accettullo did not respond to a request for comment by publication. 

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Zack cut his journalistic teeth covering high school sports in the south before spending a decade covering local government, politics and the courts in the Boston, Massachusetts area. He's previously written...