Scarborough hopes to have a plan in place to address the odor from cannabis cultivation facilities before a moratorium on new cultivator licenses for the Pine Point area expires in less than two months.

Some members of the Town Council say they’d like to get cultivators out of Pine Point completely but need to be wary of state cannabis laws.

“I do want to urge that we move this quickly and decisively and understand from the attorneys what we can do so that we can, in my opinion, have a plan in place that removes marijuana from there,” Councilor Jon Anderson said at a meeting this month.

Cannabis odor from grow facilities in the Pine Point area has troubled residents for years, but complaints intensified last February when more cultivators set up shop on Holly Street. More recently, the town also has received an increasing number of complaints from residents in the Pleasant Hill neighborhood, which is close to an area of multiple cultivating businesses, according to Assistant Town Manager Liam Gallagher.

Starting last winter, the council set a series of moratoriums on new cultivation licenses in the Pine Point area, with the latest expiring in February 2024. It updated ordinances in August to require further odor mitigation efforts by the businesses, including circulation systems that refresh the air in the buildings, as well as methods of reporting violations and enforcement. It also created a Cannabis Odor Panel to investigate complaints.

“Given the amount of complaints we’ve received, I think that it’s safe to say that the problem has not been resolved,” Gallagher told The Forecaster Wednesday.


There are 36 cannabis businesses in Scarborough with a total of 45 licenses, with 23 of those licenses for cultivation and 22 for manufacturing. Of those licenses, 18 are for businesses located in the Pine Point area, which has 14 cultivation and four manufacturing licenses, according to Deputy Town Clerk Kristen Barth. The strong odors come from the growers, while manufacturers emit little to no odors, Gallagher said, because they produce edible products, such as gummies, baked goods and beverages.

Three cannabis manufacturing licenses came before the council at their Dec. 20 meeting, which sparked the conversation of odor again. Two licenses for the Pine Point area were approved because they were manufacturers, not cultivators. One of those businesses is moving into the former site of a cultivator, which Councilor Don Cushing described as “a net positive effect.” The other manufacturing license was in the Pleasant Hill area.

Darlene Smith of Bickford Street, near the cannabis facilities in Pine Point, told the council that the moratoriums and ordinance amendments have not changed anything. “Nothing’s happened,” she said, and she’d like to see “cultivation completely out” of the area.

Residents, she added, want “to have good neighbors who run their businesses properly and we don’t even know they’re there.”

Some councilors agreed with Smith.

“I will 100% agree that we need to get it out of the Pine Point area altogether,” Council Chair Nick McGee said.


With the moratorium on new cultivation establishment licenses in the Pine Point area ending in February, the council has roughly eight weeks to come up with another solution.

“We need to get our ordinances correct, we need to get our zoning correct,” McGee said. “I think that needs to be a focus of the council and it needs to happen quickly.”

Gallagher told The Forecaster he believes the changes the council made in August, coupled with the data and feedback the town has received since then, puts the town in a good position to find a solution.

“What action they take from here is obviously up to the council,” he said, “but, I think that we are in a better position today than we were four months ago to make informed policy decisions.”

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