Medical marijuana business license permitted, moratorium vote postponed
ROCKLAND – The first medical marijuana facility to apply for a Main Street permit gained another step Monday, Aug. 13, when City Councilors voted four to one (Mayor Valli Geiger) to allow a conditional business license to Scrimshaw. This permit, however, is not the same as an occupancy permit, which has yet to be obtained.
Fifteen minutes later, Councilors decided to postpone a vote on whether to proceed with a moratorium regarding medical marijuana.
Councilor Adam Ackor suggested the postponement after an attorney from Belfast addressed Council during the public forum portion of the August 13 regular meeting. The attorney stated that the Council’s reasoning for requesting a moratorium was illegal for two different reasons.
Attorney Joe Baiungo told council members that they can’t just pass a moratorium because they think the medical marijuana laws are unreasonable. Legislative statutes are in place that must be followed in order to create a moratorium, he said. In this case, proof of serious public harm must be present.
“You’re moratorium talks about there being a serious public harm by the unregulated development of marijuana dispensaries,” he said.
Baiungo also pointed out that Rockland’s ordinance states that the laws would be effective retroactively, which, according to him, is illegal.
Though, as Councilor Ed Glaser pointed out, Rockland’s city attorney drafted the moratorium, and will likely restate that the draft is legal, Ackor still requested time to explore legal ramifications.