Hazy oversight of medical marijuana growing sparks complaints in York

March 13th, 2014 by admin Leave a reply »

YORK, Maine — Medical marijuana is being grown in York in a facility authorities believe is operating legally under state law, but over which the town has no control.

“We think it’s a legitimate operation,” Police Chief Doug Bracy said on Friday.

Because of state law and confidentiality under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, “We’re limited in our ability to look at this,” Bracy said.

For this reason, and because of public safety concerns about the facility being a target for break-ins, town officials are keeping mum on where the pot is being grown.

However, the York Police Department has fielded several complaints from neighbors of increased traffic on the street and the smell of marijuana, either from it being smoked or from plants being ventilated from the greenhouse, according to Bracy.

There also may be more than one medical marijuana growing facility in York, but there’s no way for police to know other than by receiving resident complaints, as neither the state nor the grower is required under state law to contact local authorities, Bracy said.

There is also no state requirement for residents holding a medical marijuana card to notify police, he said.

“We don’t have the right to go to the facility,” Bracy said. “We’ve not been given the authority to regulate it or oversee it.”

Community Development Director Steve Burns wants to change this by having a local ordinance for medical marijuana facilities like for any other business.

There is nothing on the books, said Burns, who would like to see something go

Article source: http://bangordailynews.com/2014/03/12/news/portland/hazy-oversight-of-medical-marijuana-growing-sparks-complaints-in-york/?ref=latest