Portland unveils proposed guidelines for marijuana firms


Portland officials unveiled a proposed licensing regime for adult use and health-related marijuana operations on Friday that would cap the quantity of retail shops at 20 citywide and possibly lead to much more restrictions on health-related marijuana dispensaries.

The proposed guidelines, which advocate a $10,000 a year annual license for marijuana retail shops, will obtain an initial assessment by City Council’s Wellness &amp Human Solutions and Public Security and its Financial Improvement committees on Tuesday. No votes or public hearings are anticipated and it is unclear when the committees will make a recommendation to the complete council.

“This is the initially time councilors will have a likelihood to weigh in on what employees has place with each other,” stated City Councilor Justin Costa, who leads the Financial Improvement Committee. “I assume we’ll have some open discussion and attempt to come to a basic agreement on what our course of action will be moving forward.”

Voters authorized legalizing recreational marijuana for adults aged 21 and older practically 3 years ago. In June, Gov. Janet Mills, who previously served as the state lawyer basic, signed a set of state guidelines, which take impact in September, that spell out how considerably marijuana Mainers can develop, obtain and and sell. Recreational sales could start as quickly as March.

The recreational law permits cities and towns to determine if they will opt into the marketplace, and set regional guidelines. So far, at least 14 of the state’s 455 municipalities have opted in.

Portland, having said that, is generating its personal guidelines. Maine’s biggest city passed zoning guidelines for adult use marijuana in February. Retail shops, dispensaries and smaller-scale marijuana caregivers are permitted to operate in numerous business enterprise zones, which includes downtown, West Bayside and along the Forest Avenue corridor, as effectively as inner Washington Avenue and the St. John-Valley Street region, amongst other pockets. But these zoning guidelines only take impact if the city passes a set of licensing regulations.

As with zoning, city employees is attempting to regulate adult use and health-related marijuana a equivalent way, according to a memo from the employees functioning group.

“The challenge in undertaking so is that the state has adopted substantial regulations for adult use marijuana utilizes, but not for health-related utilizes,” the employees memo stated. “The regulations for health-related utilizes are drastically significantly less complete, leaving what employees feels are gaps in protections for shoppers, the city and neighbors. For that purpose, the proposed licensing tries to address these gaps.”

A spokesperson for the Wellness Connection, which operates 4 health-related marijuana dispensaries in Maine, which includes 1 in Portland, could not be reached Friday evening for comment.

The proposed licensing guidelines would establish 5 categories of licenses, which includes 3 tiers of cultivation primarily based on canopy size, two tiers of manufacturing and two kinds of retail operations – health-related and adult use.

Application charges variety from $50 for a smaller scale caregiver to $500 for all other folks. And annual license charges variety from $250 for a smaller-scale caregiver to $10,000 for an adult-retail-use license or a Tier three Cultivation license with a plant canopy of up to 7,000 square feet.

Portland’s retail license is twice as considerably as Auburn’s $five,000 charge and much more than seven occasions South Portland’s $1,400 charge, according to city employees.

Employees proposed enabling up to 20 health-related and adult use retail shops in the city and a 250 foot buffer amongst every single retailer or amongst a retailer and a dispensary. They’re recommending awarding retail licenses on a “first-certified, initially-licensed basis.”

These granted licenses would have 1 year to open a retailer, or else they would forfeit their license. Employees thought of, but did not advocate, other procedures for distributing licenses, such as weighted lotteries for when applicants are competing for the similar storefront, a basic lottery for all licenses or a merit-primarily based course of action equivalent to the state’s course of action for selecting health-related marijuana dispensary operators.

Mark Barnett, the owner of Larger Grounds coffee shop on Wharf Street who plans to apply for a retail license, stated he was shocked by the quantity of needs and the 20-retailer cap that are incorporated in the preliminary employees proposal. He believes some of the needs are redundant and would be burdensome on city employees and applicants, given that the state currently needs considerably of that facts. He also questioned the proposed charges, as effectively other economic needs.

But, as with the zoning, Barnett stated city employees is most likely providing councilors a menu of regulatory alternatives to kick about and that the final set of guidelines could evolve all through the assessment course of action.

“There’s a lot to chew on,” Barnett stated Friday evening, adding that he appears forward to hearing the rationale for their preliminary recommendation. “This is a complicated region of policy.”

City employees proposes requiring 10 distinct needs for applicants, which includes a neighborhood relations liaison, written permission from a landlord and plans for safety, waste disposal, operations and excellent handle. Applicants would also have to disclose all chemical compounds getting utilized in their operation and solutions.

Applicants would be expected to supply the city with a functionality assure, so if a business enterprise folds, there will be adequate funding to safely and responsibly wind down operations.

Further needs for labeling, fire security and meals inspections would also be set. It would prohibit producing edible marijuana in shapes that appeal to youngsters or adding marijuana to current brand name solutions like Coke or Keebler cookies. Manufacturing of marijuana and non-marijuana meals solutions would have to be accomplished in separate kitchens.

And the ordinance prohibits mobile sales, deliveries, mail order sales or other remote sales, even though smaller-scale caregivers could nonetheless provide health-related marijuana to sufferers.

Tuesday’s joint meeting amongst the Wellness &amp Human Solutions, Public Security and Financial Improvement committees is scheduled to start at five:30 in Space 209 at City Hall.

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