Augusta considering moratorium on storefront medical marijuana sales

May 11th, 2018 by admin Leave a reply »

AUGUSTA — Concerned about the potential effect of what they describe as the “Wild West” status of state regulations on medical marijuana caregivers, members of an ad hoc committee have recommend the city temporarily ban caregivers from opening medical marijuana storefronts.

Committee members also suggest that Augusta establish zoning rules to regulate in-home medical marijuana growing and sales by caregivers.

City councilors said they’re concerned that caregivers, because of a gray area of state law, are able to sell medical marijuana to many more than the five patients allowed under the law, potentially even hundreds of patients. Councilors are also concerned about the effect of in-home marijuana growing and selling by caregivers on their neighbors.

Some caregivers, though, say the city’s proposed new rules are discriminatory because they would treat caregivers with storefronts or who sell to patients in their homes differently from other businesses, and that could make it harder for patients to get their medicine.

The state has eight highly regulated medical marijuana dispensaries and about 5,000 caregivers, who, local officials said, face much less legal scrutiny than the dispensaries do.

The proposed local zoning rules would require caregivers to get a permit from the city because, under current state law, there is no way for local officials to know who caregivers are, or where they are located, according to Matt Nazar, city development director. And that makes it hard to regulate those operations, which he said could harm residential neighborhoods if left unchecked.

A committee of mostly city councilors recommended Thursday that Augusta

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