OLD TOWN – The planning board voted last week to send a medical marijuana cultivation ordinance to the city council.

Last summer, questions were raised at a council meeting about a medical marijuana growing operation on Main Street, but councilors initially were told that the operation was legal, and there is nothing in city ordinances prohibiting it. Then a second growing operation was proposed for Main Street as well, leading city officials to wonder if they wanted such activity proliferating downtown. Both the existing and proposed growing operation were closed down after it was discovered they were in violation of zoning; at the present time, there are no cultivation activities going on downtown. Concern over possible future marijuana cultivation, however, led city officials to approve a medical marijuana dispensary moratorium for Old Town while an ordinance regulating it was developed.

Among other things, the proposed ordinance would allow no more than one medical marijuana registration facility and/or cultivation facility, to have common ownership. The business would have to be located in the Highway Commercial C-3 zone, which Russell said is along the Stillwater Avenue corridor. Additionally, the facility could not be near any preexisting school, church, private residence, or daycare. Its hours of operation would be restricted to 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Restrictions also would required for signage and security, and nobody could consume, ingest or inhale marijuana in the facility unless they are a registered patient. The ordinance also would require that all activities of the facility be conducted indoors.

The city council is scheduled to have a first reading on the ordinance on Oct. 6, with a second to follow on Oct. 16. If approved, the ordinance would go into effect ten days after that second reading.

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