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 far more restrictions on health-related marijuana dispensaries.

The proposed guidelines, which advise a $10,000 a year annual license for marijuana retail shops, will obtain an initial assessment by City Council’s Overall health &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,” mentioned City Councilor Justin Costa, who leads the Financial Improvement Committee. “I consider 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 a great deal marijuana Mainers can develop, obtain and and sell. Recreational sales could commence as quickly as March.

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

Portland, on the other hand, is building its personal guidelines. Maine’s biggest city passed zoning guidelines for adult use marijuana in February. Retail shops, dispensaries and compact-scale marijuana caregivers are permitted to operate in many business enterprise zones, such as downtown, West Bayside and along the Forest Avenue corridor, as effectively as inner Washington Avenue and the St. John-Valley Street location, 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 related 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 makes use of, but not for health-related makes use of,” the employees memo mentioned. “The regulations for health-related makes use of are considerably significantly less extensive, leaving what employees feels are gaps in protections for customers, 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, such as 1 in Portland, could not be reached Friday evening for comment.

The proposed licensing guidelines would establish 5 categories of licenses, such as 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 costs variety from $50 for a compact scale caregiver to $500 for all other individuals. And annual license costs variety from $250 for a compact-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 a great deal as Auburn’s $five,000 charge and far more than seven instances South Portland’s $1,400 charge, according to city employees.

Employees proposed permitting up to 20 health-related and adult use retail shops in the city and a 250 foot buffer among every single shop or among a shop 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 shop, or else they would forfeit their license. Employees regarded as, but did not advise, other solutions for distributing licenses, such as weighted lotteries for when applicants are competing for the very same storefront, a basic lottery for all licenses or a merit-primarily based course of action related to the state’s course of action for picking health-related marijuana dispensary operators.

Mark Barnett, the owner of Greater Grounds coffee shop on Wharf Street who plans to apply for a retail license, mentioned he was shocked by the quantity of needs and the 20-shop 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, considering that the state currently needs a great deal of that info. He also questioned the proposed costs, as effectively other economic needs.

But, as with the zoning, Barnett mentioned 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 mentioned Friday evening, adding that he appears forward to hearing the rationale for their preliminary recommendation. “This is a complicated location of policy.”

City employees proposes requiring 10 certain needs for applicants, such as a neighborhood relations liaison, written permission from a landlord and plans for safety, waste disposal, operations and high quality manage. Applicants would also have to disclose all chemical compounds getting utilized in their operation and goods.

Applicants would be necessary to deliver the city with a overall performance assure, so if a business enterprise folds, there will be adequate funding to safely and responsibly wind down operations.

More needs for labeling, fire security and meals inspections would also be set. It would prohibit generating edible marijuana in shapes that appeal to young children or adding marijuana to current brand name goods like Coke or Keebler cookies. Manufacturing of marijuana and non-marijuana meals goods would have to be completed in separate kitchens.

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

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

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