Edgecomb eyes marijuana moratorium in conjunction with state’s

Hearing held on moratorium, shoreland zone, coastal waters ordinances
Posted:  Monday, April 17, 2017 - 7:00am

Edgecomb residents will decide whether or not to impose their own marijuana moratorium during their May town meeting. The planning board held a public hearing April 13 to provide residents with more information on the proposed six-month ban as well as revised shoreland zone and coastal waters ordinances.

The revised shoreland zone ordinance has 35 pages of clarifications and state-mandated changes, according Ordinance Review Committee Chairman Barry Hathorne. The town’s harbor master and assistants currently operate under the state’s coastal waters ordinance. The planning board is proposing to adopt those state regulations.

Neither proposal generated any questions. All the questions pertained to the proposed moratorium on marijuana retail sales and growing and establishing social clubs for consuming pot. Selectmen submitted it over confusion about the current state moratorium.

In November, Maine voters narrowly approved recreational marijuana use for adults over age 21. People now may possess 2.5 ounces and grow their own marijuana. In January, the Legislature imposed a moratorium on selling and growing retail marijuana.  The Legislature is currently establishing rules and regulations regarding marijuana legalization in preparation for retail sales and growing beginning in February 2018.

“The state’s moratorium doesn’t have any impact on the town.” said Planning Board Chairman Jack French. “The new state law divides up responsibility between the municipality and state so we need our moratorium to give us time to write our own regulations.”

Medical marijuana caregiver Jan Martin of Boothbay and caregiver consultant Darrell Gudroe of Boothbay Harbor attended the hearing at the request of two Edgecomb residents. Martin and Gudroe recently received approval to operate a medical marijuana caregivers’ business in Boothbay. They also want to sell recreational marijuana in Boothbay when the state ban expires. Gudroe had concerns that Edgecomb’s proposal may ban retail sales and growing until May 2018; that would prohibit residents from receiving state licenses to grow marijuana commercially.

Gudroe believed the state moratorium provided the town with enough protection and time in creating ordinances pertaining to future recreational marijuana retail sales and growing. “All the state licenses will be passed out leaving anyone in Edgecomb unable to receive one. You are effectively shutting people out of the industry with this moratorium,” Gudroe said.

Selectman Ted Hugger agreed. He said the state moratorium may provide town officials enough protection and time to draft their own ordinance. “(Gudroe) raises a valid point,” he said. “Until the state acts we have no underlying reason to write our rules.”

Town meeting is Saturday, May 13 in the town hall.