Councilors John Cloutier and Peter Hayes look over an amendment from Councilor Betsy Gleysteen to allow medical marijuana caregivers to redact certain parts of their application to protect patient confidentiality. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

SCARBOROUGH — Businesses will be able to cultivate, manufacture and test marijuana for medical and recreational use in certain areas in Scarborough, after the Town Council approved new rules Jan. 22. However, the new rules do not permit recreational or medical marijuana retail establishments anywhere else in town.

Cultivation, manufacturing and testing will be allowed beginning Feb. 21 in the industrial zones and the areas around Haigis Parkway and The Downs and where Route 1 and the Scarborough Connector meet, but not in the rural farming zone. Cultivation and manufacturing had been proposed there, but councilors decided Jan. 22 to not allow those operations after objections from the community.

Councilors Ken Johnson and Don Hamill vote Jan. 22 in favor of a new ordinance that would regulate where and how marijuana businesses can operate in Scarborough. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

Councilor Don Hamill said Councilor Jean-Marie Caterina’s amendment prohibiting marijuana operations in the rural farming zone was a direct result of that feedback.

Businesses will be able to obtain a license to cultivate, manufacture and test marijuana within certain areas. Their establishments must be at least 1,000 feet from any school or daycare center. Marijuana businesses must have security measures in place and an odor mitigation plan.

Annual licenses, which range from $750 to $10,000, based on the use and size of the facility, must be obtained from the council. The fire chief, police chief and code enforcement officer must assure in writing that the operation meets all local regulations.

Alecia Emrich of Haystack Circle encouraged the council to limit the number of marijuana licenses issued.


Nick Messer, a founder of Port City Relief, a medical cannabis provider on Commercial Road in Scarborough, said the licensing fees were too high. That was also the reason Chairman Paul Johnson voted against the licensing rules.

“Financially, I think it is unfair to the grower community,” Johnson said. “I am bending to the will of the council. I don’t have the political power to go to bat on this.”

The new rules come after years of debate over handling medical and commercial adult-use recreational marijuana locally.

While imperfect, Caterina said she is “pleased” where the marijuana regulations ended up.

“This is a living document,” she said.  “Let’s give it a chance to see what works and what doesn’t. We can take a look at this in six months or a year, but let’s get some experience under our belt.”

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