Dexter councilors approve medical retail marijuana moratorium
DEXTER — The town council passed an emergency moratorium ordinance regarding medical retail marijuana during a Sept. 13 meeting. The moratorium ordinance will be in effect for 60 days through Nov. 12 — residents can still use medicinal and recreational marijuana within the law — as the document covers the location, operation, permitting, approval or licensing of any medical marijuana retail stores, registered dispensaries, testing facilities and manufacturing facilities in Dexter.
Town Manager Trampas King said the latest moratorium ordinance was developed after he looked at a similar document for Dover-Foxcroft and at guidelines provided by the Maine Municipal Association. “This emergency ordinance will give us 60 days,” he said.
“I think we need to get with the planning board,” Councilor Sharon Grant said, about looking at the land use ordinance and other town policies to make any needed amendments.
In July the Maine Legislature passed a bill amending the state’s medical marijuana law which enables registered caregivers to sell marijuana to qualifying patients as well as allowing them to operate medical marijuana manufacturing facilities, medical marijuana testing facilities and six additional registered medical marijuana dispensaries. The Legislature also gave municipalities the right to regulate medical retail marijuana facilities.
During the November 2016 election Maine residents approved a referendum concerning the possession and use of marijuana by those 21 and older which also allows for the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing and sale of marijuana and products subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance. In Dexter 57 percent of voters were against the question, and town officials used this to indicate that there is community support for the moratorium ordinance.
Since the vote nearly two years ago, town officials across the state and the Maine Municipal Association have been examining what the referendum means, how the Maine Legislature is responding and what individual communities can do with local ordinances. Communities were given the ability to opt out of the retail aspect of recreational marijuana, which was done in Dexter with previous moratorium ordinances.