Rockland voters may have say on whether to allow pot sales downtown

By Stephen Betts | Aug 30, 2018
Photo by: Stephen Betts Rockland voters may be asked whether they support retail marijuana sales in the city, and specifically whether sales should be allowed downtown.

Rockland — A Rockland city councilor has proposed holding two municipal advisory referendums in the fall to determine the community's sentiment on allowing retail marijuana sales.

Councilor Ed Glaser has sponsored two items to be considered at the council's Sept. 10 meeting.

One would ask voters whether they support retail marijuana sales in Rockland. The other would ask whether retail sales should be allowed downtown.

Rockland voters supported a November 2016 statewide referendum to allow retail marijuana sales by a 2,012 to 1,533 tally. State law, however, requires the legislative bodies of each municipality to opt in for such sales.

Rockland has yet to vote on retail sales. The City Council is Rockland's legislative body.

The proposal for the referendums comes after the council voted 3-2 at its Aug. 20 meeting for a 60-day moratorium on any additional medical marijuana production facilities. The council will also vote Sept. 10 on a separate six-month moratorium.

The councilors who supported the moratorium said it was needed to give the city time to review its regulations and to prevent medical marijuana facilities from being turned into retail shops without city approval.

One medical marijuana facility has been approved for 500 Main St. Three other applications are on hold because of the emergency 60-day moratorium. Those proposals are for 266 Main St.; 12 Moran Drive; and 11 Lime St.

Rockland Main Street Inc. conducted a survey in the fall of 2016 in which nearly half the people responding said they did not want a marijuana store in downtown Rockland. The results were 89 opposed, 78 in support and 29 saying maybe. When asked how they felt about a marijuana store being located elsewhere in Rockland, there was more support, with 96 in favor, 60 opposed and 39 saying maybe.

While the council will vote Sept. 10 on holding the referendums, it will also meet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5, to review proposed agenda items. There will also be a 5:15 p.m. meeting that evening to demonstrate a drone that has been offered to the city's fire and police departments.

Comments (12)
Posted by: Valerie Wass | Sep 02, 2018 07:25

Oh my goodness!   The pot issue HAS NOTHING to do with vehicles not stopping for pedestrians. Pot HAS NOTHING to do with extremely stupid, impatient drivers either.



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Sep 02, 2018 07:22

George,

I, in fact, do know that driving while under the influence of pot is safer than alcohol by a long shot.

Society has made it that may of us think that pot is more like an opiate and extremely bad to use when in fact, pot is used to help all kinds of medical problems.  The biggest one is Cancer.  How can that be so bad?



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Sep 02, 2018 07:17

Ian,

In the middle of what epidemic?  Did you know that doctors prescribe pot for cancer patients?  Also, that pot helps people with many health issues and that there are so many different kinds of pot and how it is sold?  That you don’t have to get “high” taking pot if taken medically?



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Sep 02, 2018 07:13

Francis,

Can you find anyone in court documents that states that they were charged with manslaughter while under the influence of pot?  On the contrary to alcohol.  There are way too many.



Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Sep 01, 2018 09:22

Speaking of pedrestrian safety on Main street, I was sitting outside Rock City Coffee yesterday enjoying a cup with a friend and watching pedrestrians and cars dancing to and fro, dodgeing and weaving as people and cars tried to avoid colliding with each other.  The problem appeared to be a huge sysco tractor trailor truck parked smack dad in lthe middle of Main street most likely making a delivery to Atlantic Bakery or the Strand.  In any case it created quite a bottle neck and many near accidents and harsh words for about a half hour.  Unfortunately after much entertainment my friend and I finished our coffees and had return to work. I have asked Rockland City and Downtown merchant officials why this is allowed to continue but received not much more than a campaign speech



Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Aug 31, 2018 12:57

Keep in mind that a citizen referendum is not binding; just makes the populace think, however briefly, they have a say in town government.



Posted by: George Terrien | Aug 31, 2018 11:45

Before selling even more MJ in Rockland, legally or illegally, let's first achieve greater pedestrian safety and increase compliance with driving laws (especially speed, stop sign, cross walk, even engine noise modification).  Remember, not even the State Police know how to measure cannabis' effect on vehicular safety.  And I doubt too many sober people would claim that pot is perfectly safe to use while driving.



Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Aug 31, 2018 09:00

I think it would be a good idea to bring this whole issue to referendum.  Of course this brings up another question.  If voters decide on all important issues facing our town why do we need a city council.  It appears keeping a city council would be good mostly for the entertainment value.  Let's look at the major issues they have tackeled of late.  set limits on marijuana, cruise ships and plastic bags.  Should dogs be allowed to poop in our public parks ?  Should we build toilets on the breakwater ?  Should we respect diversity  and be nice to each other ?  Should councilors be required to speak nicely to each other ?  Lastly should we place a moratorium on art galleries on Main Street ?  Personally I think Rockland Main street should have more liquor stores and strip clubs.  Just as an historical reference, Rockland Main street and Tilson Ave. did at one time have a liquor store and strip club.



Posted by: Spencer Youngblood | Aug 31, 2018 06:53

The weed stores  need to be off Main, as should liquor stores and strip clubs.  Pleople wo want the product will find it. There is no benefit to a visibile location, only a possible negative.



Posted by: Ian Emmott | Aug 31, 2018 06:26

Absolutely no retail shops downtown please. I would disagree with your comment Charles. While you may not physially see harm, It’s carried off from places like that. However, that’s a totally different discussion for a different time. Although it’s a moot point now, I really don’t think legalizing another recreational drug in the middle of an epidemic was the smartest thing to do. Sure, it absolutely has benefits medically, but we do not completely understand the drug and it’s side effects really are not all that well known. Just my opinion from someone who has had problems,  so I think I have standing here.



Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Aug 31, 2018 04:21

What difference does it make which substance one uses to anesthetize themselves? To me the pot smokers are no different than those that partake in the pleasures of drinking alcohol.



Posted by: Charles Lewis Godfrey | Aug 30, 2018 21:49

I don't think a marijuana  shop is going to  hurt Rockland, Everyone  thought the methadone clinic was so bad for the city of Rockland..



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