Boothbay Planning Board

Board tables change of use request for marijuana business

Board, applicant disagree about application’s wording
Posted:  Friday, March 17, 2017 - 7:30am

The Boothbay Planning Board tabled a change of use request March 15 for a Wiscasset Road property over a disagreement about the application’s intent. Medical marijuana caregivers Darrell Gudroe of Boothbay Harbor and Jan Martin of Boothbay, submitted an application for a marijuana-growing and retail space.

Gudroe and Martin plan on operating a medical marijuana care giving business and growing plants inside the 638 Wiscasset Road location. Once the state has approved sales guidelines, they also plan to sell marijuana for recreational use. But a majority of the planning board ruled the application was unclear.  The board voted 3-2 to table the request.

Board Chairman Alan Bellows sought an opinion from the town’s attorney Sally Daggett regarding marijuana retail and growing space applications.  Bellows read a portion of Daggett’s statement. “The town has no business reviewing applications for an illegal activity,” read Bellows. He advised the board to follow the lawyer’s advice and not approve any requests while selling and growing marijuana was prohibited by state and federal law.

In November, Maine was the seventh state along with Washington, D.C. to legalize possessing 2.5 ounces of pot for those 21 years and older. In January, the state legislature imposed a one-year moratorium on legalized pot sales. State lawmakers delayed the new law’s implementation in order to create rules for growing and selling the drug.

This is the second month in a row Gudroe’s and Martin’s request was delayed. In February, a planning board meeting was canceled due to a massive snowfall. The two men explained their application was only for a medical marijuana care giving business. They applied before the state legislature imposed the moratorium on January.

The applicants said the application regards selling and growing medical marijuana.  “We understand selling marijuana to adults is illegal,” Gudroe said. ”What we’re looking for is a change of use to sell medical marijuana, and possibly, in the future come back to sell recreational marijuana when it becomes legal.”

Bellows read the application’s wording aloud and stood by his preference to table the request.

“The application says retail sale with no mention of medical marijuana. I’m not prepared to review something completely different than what I’m looking at,” Bellows said.

Gudroe apologized for the confusion and said he believed the town ordinance allowed for growing and selling medical marijuana. Gudroe explained he was familiar with state law regarding medical marijuana. He  is a board member of Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine. He characterized the request as allowing the business to upgrade the lighting and security for accommodating the sale and growing of medical marijuana.

“I spoke directly to the town manager and code enforcement officer and they both understand this is for medical marijuana. You are putting me off for another 30 days because I didn’t put the word medical in the application,” Gudroe said. “I don’t think that’s fair and you had an extra 30 days to ask us any additional questions, but you didn’t.”

Board members Tim Utley and Bruce Bowler joined Bellows in voting to table the application. Members Melinda Browne and Mike Tomacelli opposed tabling it. The board will meet next at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19 in the municipal building.