Cannabis dispensary opening in Bridgeport this fall

Officials say the space, located at 2000 Commerce Drive and currently under construction, will have the dispensary, retail space and a church all inside one building.

Frank Recchia

Aug 20, 2023, 4:41 PM

Updated 338 days ago

Share:

Bridgeport's first cannabis dispensary is expected to open this fall.
Rino Farrarese and Ray Pantalena gave News 12 Connecticut on Sunday an exclusive look at the dispensary.
The site, which is under construction, is located on 2000 Commerce Drive. It is about a 30-second drive from I-95 with a brand-new parking lot. The dispensary will share the same building as a Goodwill and the Church of Christ Bridgeport.
Farrarese and Pantalena are the co-owners of Affinity Dispensary. They walked a News 12 Connecticut crew on the business that will offer both medical and adult-use cannabis.
The Bridgeport Zoning Commission gave the men the green light to legally sell their products.
Products will be kept in the dispensary's concrete and steel cannabis vault, as the state mandates.
Farrarese and Pantalena said the place will create 50 new jobs. They added that they are committed to supporting local nonprofits and initiatives that move Bridgeport forward and upward. Both said the dispensary will have security inside and outside 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"Nobody can enter the dispensary unless they go through a security check and they verify their age of being 21 years or older," Pantalena said.
News 12 Connecticut also sat down with Bridgeport stakeholders who met with Farrarese and Pantalena to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
"We're super excited to come down to Bridgeport. We've been operating a hybrid dispensary in New Haven," Pantalena said.
"I was born and raised in Bridgeport, went to Bridgeport public schools and I'm pleased to be back here in Bridgeport, bringing a business with an opportunity to re-invest in the community," Farrarese said.
Both said, because their dispensary will be the biggest in Connecticut, that re-investment will be on a very big scale.
"A lot of times we have investors come into our community and they don't keep their word. So meeting with Ray and Rino has been an unusual experience because they have really done what they said they are going to do," said Debbie Simms, of East End NRZ.
"We're excited about the fact that this is a business that is committed to the community with a co-owner who is from Bridgeport, born and raised, and another owner who understands urban communities and environments and how to engage and interact with them," said Kirk Wesley.
"There will not be neon lights, there will not be advertisements of marijuana leaves all over the building and telling anyone and everyone to come in," said Dr. Vanessa Liles, of West Side/West End NRZ.
"The opportunity to give back to the community, we're very excited about it. We're one of only two non-state operators. We are Connecticut-owned and -operated and we're very happy to Bridgeport," Pantalena said.
As to whether the business will succeed, supporters said with the sale of cannabis in Connecticut more popular than ever, that is a pretty safe bet.
The business is set to open in December.


More from News 12
0:20
2-year-old shot in hand and foot in Monroe

2-year-old shot in hand and foot in Monroe

2:15
Warm and humid with possible showers today, better weather coming Friday

Warm and humid with possible showers today, better weather coming Friday

2:52
The 2024 Olympic Games begin this week. Here's how Stamford is playing a role!

The 2024 Olympic Games begin this week. Here's how Stamford is playing a role!

4:23
Sen. Bob Menendez to resign from office Aug. 20 following corruption conviction

Sen. Bob Menendez to resign from office Aug. 20 following corruption conviction

0:28
Tijuana flavors arrive in Bridgeport with new deli

Tijuana flavors arrive in Bridgeport with new deli

0:51
Connecticut athletes ready to shine at Paris Olympics

Connecticut athletes ready to shine at Paris Olympics

0:30
Stratford welcomes 2 new businesses to Paradise Green

Stratford welcomes 2 new businesses to Paradise Green

2:05
 Overdose deaths in Connecticut spark effort to prevent addicts from relapsing, potentially dying

Overdose deaths in Connecticut spark effort to prevent addicts from relapsing, potentially dying

1:48
'This day is really special.' JFS Greenwich holds back-to-school event for refugee youth

'This day is really special.' JFS Greenwich holds back-to-school event for refugee youth

0:33
Newtown Action Alliance, other gun safety groups endorse Kamala Harris for president

Newtown Action Alliance, other gun safety groups endorse Kamala Harris for president

0:49
Kids Online Safety Act, led by Sen. Blumenthal and other national leaders, moves forward to Congress

Kids Online Safety Act, led by Sen. Blumenthal and other national leaders, moves forward to Congress

1:29
Nonprofit awarded $2M state grant to address menstrual equity

Nonprofit awarded $2M state grant to address menstrual equity

2:00
‘People don’t know Connecticut.’ Lamont hopes trade mission to Germany attracts new jobs

‘People don’t know Connecticut.’ Lamont hopes trade mission to Germany attracts new jobs

1:44
Fairfield University professor calls presidential race too close to call with Harris in the mix

Fairfield University professor calls presidential race too close to call with Harris in the mix

2:19
Westport police warn people to lock their cars, homes after 3 suspects tried to break into several cars

Westport police warn people to lock their cars, homes after 3 suspects tried to break into several cars

0:13
Bridgeport to offer free vaccines to children

Bridgeport to offer free vaccines to children

0:27
Local athletes set to shine at the 2024 Paris Olympics

Local athletes set to shine at the 2024 Paris Olympics

0:42
News 12’s Frank Recchia receives MLK Award for Excellence in Community Service

News 12’s Frank Recchia receives MLK Award for Excellence in Community Service

0:42
Teen Talk Summit brings mental health experts to Darien

Teen Talk Summit brings mental health experts to Darien

0:39
Connecticut schools rank second best in nation, according to WalletHub

Connecticut schools rank second best in nation, according to WalletHub