Norway Selectmen Thomas Curtis, left, and Bruce Cook listen as Town Manager Dennis Lajoie talks about the proposed 180-day moratorium on medical marijuana grow facilities on Thursday at the Town Office.

NORWAY — Residents voted unanimously Thursday evening to establish a 180-day moratorium on medical marijuana grow facilities in town.

Town Manager Dennis Lajoie said that over the last few months there have been a number of medical marijuana production facilities coming before the Planning Board.

He said he reached out to the town attorney about the possibility of drafting a 180-day moratorium on medical marijuana grow facilities while the town looks into amending its land-use ordinance.

Lewiston resident Rob Laverdiere came before the Planning Board in August and submitted a proposal to turn the former brick production facility of the Advertiser Democrat newspaper at 1 Pikes Hill Road into a medical marijuana growing facility.

He said he would be the primary caregiver and have up to five patients with a maximum of six plants per patient.

However, some selectmen expressed concern that the facility would be located in the historic district and that it’s one of three medical marijuana grow facilities being considered in Norway in the last five months.

The Planning Board voted in May to approve Matt New of Auburn to lease a building on 12 King St. to grow medical marijuana.

Resident Tom Hoffelder asked Lajoie if the moratorium would affect the two applications for grow facilities that the Planning Board is currently considering, including Laverdiere’s.

Lajoie said the moratorium states that if residents approve it, no building permits or certificates of occupancy can be issued.

“According to case law that’s out there, technically, our code enforcement officer cannot issue a certificate of occupancy to these two production facilities that are before the Planning Board,” Lajoie continued. “However, our town attorney’s advice to me and the code enforcement officer was that if we get challenged by the facility that is three-quarters of the way through its process, we’ll probably lose. Her advice was to let that facility continue.”

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