News icon

News

Share: 

07/11/2017

Hearing on proposal to prohibit recreational marijuana facilities Aug. 14

Establishments for retail sales, social clubs and cultivation of recreational marijuana for non-personal use have no place in Cape Elizabeth, and the Town Council is proposing an ordinance that prohibits them all. [Download memo and draft ordinance]

The council will hold a public hearing on Aug. 14, 2017 on an emergency ordinance to prohibit recreational marijuana cultivation, manufacture, testing, retail sales and social clubs in Cape Elizabeth. If approved the ordinance would take effect immediately, well before the current moratorium on recreational pot expires in September.

Patty Grennon, chair of the council's ordinance subcommittee, said the committee looked at various land-use zones in town for a possible fit with marijuana-related facilities made legal by the November 2016 state recreational marijuana referendum. "The ordinance committee concluded that there are no locations where marijuana retail sales or social clubs would be appropriate in Cape Elizabeth," said Grennon, citing the proximity of existing business zones to schools and to residential neighborhoods.

Similarly, lack of an industrial zone in town discourages manufacture and testing, but, the committee's report does hold some hope for future cultivation of recreational marijuana for non-personal use. "We actually spent a great deal of time discussing this," Grennon said at the council's meeting July 10.

Cape Elizabeth is already experiencing impacts of marijuana grown for medical use, chief of which is odor. "As we went through this and discussed this a lot the smell was an issue, and so I think that helped us to formulate where we landed," said Councilor Kathy Ray, a member of the ordinance committee.

The committee considered the positive economic impacts cultivation might have for the town, and also a minium lot size and shelter requirements for growing marijuana.

But for now, the committee is recommending commercial cultivation also be outlawed pending further state regulation and practices in other communities. "So we went with, 'Let's take a wait-and-see approach' (and) learn from other communities before allowing growing and cultivation in Cape Elizabeth," Grennon said.

The marijuana referendum was narrowly approved by 50.3 percent of voters statewide, and supported by 51.2 percent of those who voted in Cape Elizabeth.

Unlike medical marijuana, which is legal in Maine and allows almost no local regulation, the recreational marijuana referendum includes substantial opportunity for local regulation of recreational marijuana cultivation, testing, manufacturing, retail sales and social clubs.