Camden board rejects marijuana moratorium extension

By Susan Mustapich | Oct 11, 2017
Photo by: Susan Mustapich Members were appointed Oct. 10 to a new Recreational Marijuana Policy Working Group, that will develop recommendations for marijuana retail stores and social clubs.

CAMDEN — A proposal to extend Camden's 180-day moratorium on marijuana retail shops and social clubs was defeated Oct. 10 by the majority of three Select Board members elected in June.

Board members Alison McKellar, Bob Falciani and Jenna Lookner opposed continuing the 180-moratorium that was approved by voters at a special town meeting in February. Back in January, the recommendation to enact the moratorium was brought to the board by town attorney Bill Kelly.

On Oct. 10, McKellar, Falciani and Lookner agreed that the moratorium was redundant, because with state rules for licensing marijuana establishments not yet finalized, no such businesses can be licensed. All three were elected June 13.

Selectman Marc Ratner voted in favor of extending the moratorium, saying he did not know enough about the issue and was willing to follow Kelly's recommendation.

Board Chairman John French asked why Camden cannot have a Dunkin Donuts business in town, yet is announcing that it is open for pot businesses.

Instead of extending the moratorium, the Select Board directed Town Manager Audra Caler-Bell to prepare a letter stating that no new permits for marijuana-related businesses will be granted until the state regulatory process for licensing these businesses is completed. Once the letter is drafted, it will be discussed again at an upcoming board meeting.

After voting to reject the moratorium extension, the Select Board appointed community members to a new Recreational Marijuana Policy Working Group that will develop recommendations for marijuana retail stores and social clubs.

Appointed to the group are: Grayson Lookner, Liz Smith, Etienne Perret, Marc Kwiatkowski, Edwin Horvath and Eleanor Masin-Peter, who had submitted Town Committee Interest Forms.

According to the Oct. 10 Select Board agenda, the work group's focus is to provide the Select Board with recommendations on marijuana social clubs and retail stores and, potentially, appropriate zones, prior to the finalization of state government rulemaking.

Board members asked that the mission statement of this work group be fully developed, now that it has been established. The focus of its work will be discussed and finalized an upcoming Select Board meeting.

French suggested that McKellar and Lookner serve as Select Board liaisons to the Recreational Marijuana Policy Working Group, and both board members accepted.

McKellar mentioned that if additional residents who would bring expertise to the work group are interested in joining, that should be considered.

Maine voters approved a referendum Nov. 8, 2016, to allow recreational use of marijuana. Gov. Paul LePage has signed a proclamation verifying the results of the vote, and since Jan. 30 possessing and growing marijuana has been legal.

Courier Publications reporter Susan Mustapich can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at smustapich@villagesoup.com.

Comments (1)
Posted by: johanna stadler | Oct 11, 2017 11:03

here's an idea... the majority of voters voted to make marijuana legal and available.  SO instead of trying to circumvent the wishes of the voters..... why not actually do what the voters have willed?  What a crock... as if your vote really matters it would seem.



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