City tells medical marijuana-growing business to leave former school

By Stephen Betts | Dec 05, 2017
The Lincoln Street Center in Rockland.

Rockland — Rockland officials have told a medical marijuana caregiver to move his pot-growing operations out of the Lincoln Street Center.

Code Enforcement Officer John Root said Tuesday, Dec. 5, that he and the city attorney met Nov. 30 with Larry Reeves, a medical marijuana caregiver.

The medical marijuana-growing operation has been using space in the former school for nearly two years.

Root said he told Reeves he would try to assist him in finding another location where medical marijuana growing would be permitted. He said that marijuana growing is not a permitted use at the Lincoln Street Center. The center is located adjacent to the McLain School.

The Lincoln Street Center is leased to "artists and makers," according to its website

Reeves appeared before the Rockland City Council Nov. 6 to defend his operations. He said he disagreed with the city's contention that he was in violation of the zoning laws of Rockland.

The caregiver said he is concerned about having to move his growing operation in January, saying if it is snowing it could damage the plants. Root said Dec. 5 he would allow Reeves to harvest his current crop before he has to move.

Medical marijuana caregivers are licensed by the state and the caregivers are allowed to grow in their homes. Reeves maintains that state law also extends that permission to space under his control, which he said the leased space is.

Reeves told councilors he grows for five medical marijuana patients. "Most have cancer. Some I give the marijuana to," he said.

He said this was a medical issue and that he has helped people get off oxycodone  by using marijuana. "We really need to look at this from a humanistic, populist view. A great deal of society, including in Rockland, use cannabis," Reeves said.

The state law and rules on medical marijuana do not have a restriction on how close the operation can be to a school.

The City Council met Wednesday night, Nov. 29, to further discuss proposed city ordinances on regulating medical marijuana locations in commercial or industrial zones.

Councilor Ed Glaser questioned the need for the city to be spending time on medical marijuana, when state law already regulates it. He said the city should wait to see what the state does on regulating the sale of recreational marijuana, which was approved by voters statewide in November 2016.

Glaser said this was just another layer of ordinances that was not needed.

Councilor Amelia Magjik, who is the sponsor of the ordinances, said the proposed medical marijuana regulations would be a starting point for when recreational marijuana is allowed to be sold in commercial zones.

The proposed ordinances would require medical marijuana facilities in non-residential zones to get Planning Board approval.

The proposed ordinance would allow medical marijuana production facilities in waterfront, commercial, downtown and industrial zones. The ordinance also establishes 300-foot buffer zones between a medical marijuana facility and the property lines of schools, drug-free zones such as the public landing, playgrounds and churches.

The ordinances also restrict signage for medical marijuana facilities in non-residential zones so that there could not be any graphic of a pot plant and signs cannot have the word "marijuana" in them.

Magjik said she would like to see the elimination of buffers in the proposed ordinances when they come before the council Dec. 11. She said she would also like to make changes to the signage restrictions.

The ordinances gained preliminary approval on a 3-2 vote of the council at its Nov. 13 meeting. Glaser and then-Mayor Will Clayton voted against the ordinances.

A formal public hearing and final vote are scheduled for Dec. 11.

Comments (6)
Posted by: Dale Hayward | Dec 05, 2017 11:26

Find a good lawyer, pay them some yenom and let the fun begin. Another feather for code enforcement.

Posted by: Dale Hayward | Dec 02, 2017 19:40

Code enforcement was chasing my green motor home and worrying about a stupid yard sale, both out of their authority. However, they got away with it. Now we pay for their mistakes in legal fees. Just had another lose, cost us taxpayers maga and everyone still has their jobs. Got to love it. Incompetence flourishes and selective enforcement is the routine.

Posted by: Don Dickinson | Dec 02, 2017 12:05

I'm sure the tax payers of Rockland will relish the idea of footing the bill for legal costs when Mr. Reeves sues the the city if they go through with the eviction of his business. Where was Code Enforcement two years ago when he moved in?

Posted by: Dale Hayward | Dec 01, 2017 16:17

I do believe Ed is coming around to understand his duties and responsibilities.

Posted by: Debby Hansen | Nov 30, 2017 17:41

For crying out loud, is Ed Glaser the only one with logic and common sense?  Please use your time and efforts on deserving issues.

Posted by: Dale Hayward | Nov 30, 2017 12:35

Cart before the horse. Been there two years and code enforcees never saw it? One councilor wants to rewrite all the laws and add ordinances and another finally questions that we have too many. Another lawyer to cost the city for what might just appear to be wasted money. Oh, well, another day in Rocklandia.

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