Dresden residents will have the opportunity to weigh in on a proposed medical marijuana greenhouse during a public meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Pownalborough Hall.

The town will host a site walk before the meeting at the greenhouse’s proposed location on Dodge Road.

The Dresden Planning Board ruled the application by Brian Fifield of Casco complete during its meeting last month. Fifield submitted the application for the construction of a greenhouse for the purpose of growing medical marijuana.

Fifield is licensed and registered by the state to participate in the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Program, and he’s designated as a caregiver with rights to grow marijuana. Fifield could not be reached for comment, but he is expected to attend Tuesday’s public meeting.

The state was one of the first in the country to legalize marijuana for medical use when it enacted the Maine Medical Marijuana Act in 1999. The law has seen a number of changes and amendments in the last 17 years, including the new Medical Marijuana Act in 2009, which repealed and replaced the one enacted a decade earlier.

“There are medical marijuana caregivers who don’t or can’t grow where they live, so they lease commercial space in other areas,” said Catherine Lewis, chairwoman of the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine Trade Association. She said most medical marijuana caregivers grow their cannabis in their homes or in dedicated grow rooms on their property.

In November, Maine voters will decide Question 1, which would legalize the possession and use of recreational marijuana, regulate it and tax it.

Fifield’s application said the greenhouse would be used to “help ease the pain and suffering of state-licensed sick and/or terminally ill cancer patients.” Fifield told the Planning Board that he plans to start construction of the greenhouse this month and hopes to complete it by spring.

“I’ve seen no indication that the Planning Board wouldn’t approve the application so long as everything is done properly,” said Dale Hinote, chairman of the Dresden Select Board.

Because the greenhouse is expected to be more than 5,000 square feet, the Planning Board considers it a major project and an agriculture products and processing use under the town’s land use and development ordinance. That use requires a permit for conditional use from the Planning Board as well as a building permit from the town’s code enforcement officer.

The greenhouse will be in Dresden, though a portion of the property crosses over into Alna. Fifield told the board that the only access to the property is in Dresden.

Hinote said he hasn’t heard any concerns from the community and noted the proposed location of the greenhouse is “pretty remote.”

“I have not talked to anyone in Dresden who is opposed to medical marijuana, though I haven’t spoken to everyone in town,” Hinote said. “I’m in favor of it as long as it’s done in accordance with the law.”

Planning Board member Linda Biden said people are probably resigned to the project happening, so they aren’t talking about it.

“That’s the funny part, because I really thought people would be complaining,” Biden said. “I haven’t really heard anything positive or negative, and if I heard anything at all, it was positive.”

Fifield started growing marijuana plants before receiving permits from the town. He said he was unaware that he needed a permit to grow the plants since he hadn’t begun construction of the greenhouse.

Hinote said the Planning Board decided to impose a $625 fine on Fifield for starting a project before completing the town’s application process. However, Biden thinks the board will reconsider the fine during Tuesday’s meeting.

Biden said sometimes the board is able to approve an application after a site walk, but she isn’t sure whether that will be the case with this proposal.

Jason Pafundi can be contacted at 621-5663 or at:

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Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ