In response to complaints about odor, the Scarborough Town Council voted unanimously to repeal and replace the ordinance establishing a moratorium on adult use marijuana cultivation facilities and medical marijuana cultivation facilities in the Pine Point industrial overlay district on Feb. 14. It expands that prohibition to all cultivation licenses town wide until June 30.

During public comments, resident Nina McKee thanked the town ordinance committee for addressing the issue “so quickly.”

“It’s wonderful that you are doing this,” she said, adding, “I wish you luck in regulating the cannabis in our town. Less is best.”

Following the public comment session, the council deliberated on the matter. In a 7-0 vote, the councilors unanimously supported the ordinance changes.

Town Councilor/Ordinance Committee Chair Jean Marie Caterina penned an article providing an update on cannabis operations in Scarborough and the impact of their aromas on local neighborhoods. Caterina reflected on the legalization of recreational cannabis in 2018 and highlighted the challenges in mitigating the pervasive odor from cannabis cultivation.

Jean-Marie Caterina, councilor and chair of the ordinance committee recently wrote an article about the moratorium relating to odor and cannabis establishments. Courtesy photo/Jean-Marie Caterina

“Allowing it to permeate nearby homes is unacceptable,” she wrote. “It is time to reconsider how to move forward.“


Zoning changes will likely be necessary, Caterina stated. “Our attorney has assured us that it is possible to make zoning changes that either move cultivation to a different zone or eliminate it altogether as it relates to recreational licenses. Either decision will require a gradual phase out over a specified time period in order for current businesses to wind down operations and relocate. What is certain is that change is coming. “

She added, “As a councilor, I find that I often weigh competing interests to craft policy that works for the majority of folks. Most small business owners have followed the rules and, yet, despite the best plans and mitigation efforts, the reduction of odor is not working. The residential neighborhoods surrounding their facilities are still experiencing ongoing days of the distinctive smell permeating their neighborhoods. It is time to reexamine the issue and potentially change where, or if, Scarborough will continue to allow cannabis cultivation.”

Councilor April Sither said, “We know that rolling this back or changing direction is going to be a process.”

Councilor Don Hamill echoed this sentiment, “When we adopted the ordinances, it took 18 months. We are trying to push the reset button. We are trying to find a path forward.”

Assistant Town Manager Liam Gallagher said, “With a new revised moratorium in place, we are trying to understand what the implications or impact would be to a zone amendment.” He further discussed the enforcement, suggesting a review of the good neighbor nuisance policy and exploring other licensing processes in town.

In planning for future actions, Sither asked what action the council would need to take to prevent new licenses. Gallagher outlined the necessary steps, suggesting changes to zoning and potentially revising enforcement measures.


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