MARIJUANA PLANTS grow indoors in Portland as seen in this December 2017 file photo. The Lisbon Town Council on Tuesday enacted a moratorium on medical marijuana retail stores.

MARIJUANA PLANTS grow indoors in Portland as seen in this December 2017 file photo. The Lisbon Town Council on Tuesday enacted a moratorium on medical marijuana retail stores.

LISBON

The town of Lisbon is putting a hold on medical marijuana retail stores.

The town council on Tuesday approved an emergency 90-day moratorium on medical marijuana retail stores. The move gives the town’s planning board more time to develop an ordinance.

The town was pushed into action when Jason Smith submitted an application for the medical marijuana retail space. The moratorium will not impact the application that has already been submitted. Lisbon already had a moratorium in place regarding retail operations for recreational marijuana, but the submitted application did not fall under that moratorium.

“We currently have a moratorium in place.” said Town Manager Dianne Barnes. “That moratorium doesn’t apply to medical marijuana storefronts.”

At a Jan. 2 meeting, the town council discussed the approach to developing an ordinance. Suggestions included reaching out to other towns that have gone through the same situation, and getting input from a medical marijuana grower.

The council decided to go with only a 90-day emergency moratorium, as opposed to a longer six-month option. This gives the town’s planning board enough time to define medical marijuana facilities in land use regulations.

A six-month moratorium would have gone into effect in 21 days, leaving open the possibility for more applications in that time. The council made it clear their intent was not to limit the opportunity to open a medical marijuana retail space to one business, but simply to give the planning board more time.

“The intent of 90 days is to put it on land use,” said Chairman Allen Ward at Tuesday night’s meeting. “We don’t want to create a monopoly.”

The council also voted to move forward with a letter of intent for a Community Development Block Grant. The grant is awarded by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, and would be used for improvements in the Lisbon Village area.

In its letter, the town must show it can match 25 percent of the $300,000 grant, which would be $75,000. The next step for the council is planning where those funds would come from. A complete plan isn’t required to be in place until the town is awarded the grant.

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Other action

THE COUNCIL also voted to move forward with a letter of intent for a Community Development Block Grant. The grant is awarded by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, and would be used for improvements in the Lisbon Village area.


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