South Portland bucks trend on medical marijuana growers, retail shops

August 11th, 2018 by admin Leave a reply »

SOUTH PORTLAND — As other Maine communities pass moratoriums and try to decide whether to allow medical marijuana operations to expand under new legislation, including storefronts, South Portland is poised to welcome them in commercial areas with certain limits, much like recreational marijuana businesses.

City officials are pushing ahead with proposed medical marijuana zoning and licensing regulations, unlike municipal leaders in Scarborough, Auburn, Topsham and elsewhere, who have temporarily blocked retail startups so they can address legislative loopholes and other concerns with the state’s burgeoning marijuana industry.

Last November, the City Council unanimously approved zoning and licensing ordinances that placed South Portland among the first few municipalities in the state to pave the way for so-called adult-use marijuana businesses.

The council acted in advance of the Legislature’s vote in May that overturned yet another marijuana veto by Gov. Paul LePage and finally put the state on a path to legalize the sale and production of recreational cannabis, as approved by Maine voters in November 2016.

But while it could be next spring before recreational retail shops and other adult-use marijuana businesses can open under yet-to-be-drafted state licensing regulations, sweeping legislative amendments passed July 9 allow medical marijuana caregivers to expand their businesses and give the state and municipalities more power to regulate them.

Some of the changes took effect immediately; the majority will take effect 90 days from passage.

South Portland officials, directed by the council, have drafted zoning and licensing regulations for medical marijuana operations that largely reflect rules

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