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Councilor said proposal would not allow retail shops in downtown district

Rockland eyes revamp of marijuana rules

By Stephen Betts | Oct 02, 2019
Source: File photo

Rockland — The Rockland City Council is set to dive back into the marijuana debate with a proposal to allow retail stores in all but the downtown section of the community.

City Councilor Ed Glaser has sponsored an ordinance to repeal the existing medical marijuana production ordinance. The proposal would allow any applicant who is currently before the Planning Board to continue in the process.

But new applicants would be required to wait until the council adopts new regulations  being honed by the city attorney. Glaser said that would make the process for applicants simpler and would regulate retail sales, which are expected be allowed by the end of the year in Maine if municipalities agree.

Glaser said the ordinance that he expects the city attorney to present will allow retail sales, but not in the downtown district. Existing medical marijuana shops would be able to continue as medical marijuana stores.

Current zoning defines the downtown district as along Main Street from Pleasant Street to the south to North Main in the north.

Rockland residents voted in a nonbinding referendum in November 2018 on whether to allow marijuana businesses in Rockland. Voters said no to allowing adult recreational marijuana stores in the downtown by a 1,610 to 1,282 tally (56 percent to 44 percent).

But they said they would support recreational marijuana stores elsewhere in the city by a 1,670 to 1,240 tally (57 percent to 43 percent).

The Rockland Planning Board has approved two medical marijuana production facilities. Scrimshaw at 500 Main St. received approval in May 2018 from the Planning Board, and the City Council voted in August 2018 to issue a permit for the business.

And Highbrow at 696 Main St., the former site of a C.N. Brown gas station, received Planning Board approval Tuesday night, Oct. 1. The business still needs a permit from the City Council.

There are two other applications pending before the Planning Board. Glenn Johnson has applied for a medical marijuana production facility at 270 Park St., to be named Dirigo Medical CBD. This building had formerly been used by Midcoast Children's Services, and before that, by Grace Bible Fellowship.

The Planning Board will hold a formal public hearing and possibly a final vote at its Oct. 15 meeting.

Nancy Shaw of Swanville has applied for a shop at 11 Lime St. This is the former Bicknell Manufacturing building now owned by Dupont Industries of Wilmington, Del.

The Planning Board will hold its first review of the Lime Street project Oct. 15. A formal public hearing would then be held Nov. 5 if the application is ruled complete at the initial meeting.

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Comments (6)
Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Oct 03, 2019 08:48

True the romance of Rockland's rough & tumble past is all but gone. The days of rowdy fisherman being thrown off the porch of the Oasis and Baldy Keiser riding his horse & buggy down Main street.  Now that we are the cultural arts center there is a sense among the ruling elites that we should be more like the Hamptons rather than a gritty fishing village.  We seem to be heading in that direction, but I feel you may be able to take the town out of Rockland but you can't take Rockland out of the town.  I think if we are going to have a marijuana store at the old C.N. Brown, we should  at least consider re-opening the Log Cabin that used to be next door.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Oct 03, 2019 08:06

Ever read that book "The World According to Mary"? It's a best seller west of the Mississippi.

Posted by: Don Dickinson | Oct 02, 2019 21:30

I think Mary already sparked one up posting that comment. Bring on the Honky Tonks. LOL!!!

Posted by: Amy Files | Oct 02, 2019 14:14

Scrimshaw is located downtown -- on Main St. -- the only changes that have resulted to Main Street that I've noticed so far have been positive (an active business where one hasn't existed for years, bright/inviting signage, and a lot of curious residents and tourists interested to see in person what a marijuana plant looks like). I really don't understand how allowing this now existing business to open up its sales to adults who don't have medical cards would be a detriment. It would allow for the business to grow, hire more people and take care and use an existing space that is in need of much improvements. It's not open late and doesn't contribute to the numerous drunk and staggering people wandering downtown streets when the bars get out at night -- that activity has much more impact on our residential community than a daytime retail establishment ever will.

Posted by: Cynthia Mary Anderson | Oct 02, 2019 13:39

"Honky Tonks" were alive and well back in the fifties and forward.  The fishing era has sadly moved on, and the rough, tough fishermen have aged.  You're confusing alcohol and marijuana.  Medical marijuana is not a gateway drug.  Alcohol will kill you, and it kills women faster than men, because women have less muscle mass.  What other drug has required a medical card to attain it??  Marijuana does not make one violent.  Alcohol does, though.  Go smoke a joint, Mary.  You don't know what you're talking about.


Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Oct 02, 2019 13:00

This is the way alcohol started and sales sored. Now we have another formidable way toward addiction. I believe in free will but sales in the downtown Rockland area spoils the down home "Maine" experience. Soon "Honky-Tonks" will entertain all night and natives who live there will have to sound proof their apartments and houses. But, hey, this is how Boston and New York City happened and flourished. Tax money really paves the way to change.

Mary "Mickey" (Brown) McKeever +:0......

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