WESTBROOK — The city is extending its moratorium on retail marijuana establishments for an additional 180 days.

The City Council at a special meeting Friday morning approved a first reading of the extended moratorium. It will go to second reading and final approval on May 15.

Councilors on May 5 unanimously approved the item at first reading. Council President Brendan Rielly and Councilor Anna Turcotte were absent.

Once approved, the moratorium will be in effect until Nov. 3. The council first approved a moratorium in November 2016 following the approval of the state-wide referendum to legalize recreational marijuana. It was in effect until May 7.

According to a memo from City Planner Jennie Franceschi, the city has been researching the approved referendum and the effects retail marijuana establishments would have on the city. She said the city would have liked to have more information from the state by now.

“With the lack of guidance we have received from the state at this juncture, we have not been able to pull together a draft ordinance at this time, but will be doing so during the next six-month window,” she said. 

City staff will be attending the Greater Portland Council of Governments annual summit next month to learn more about the retail marijuana law, Franceschi said. Over the next six months, she said, the city will use what it learns from other communities and organizations, as well as from additional research, to draft an ordinance. 

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

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