Pubdate: Sat, 26 Jun 2010
Source: Foster's Daily Democrat (Dover, NH)
Copyright: 2010 Geo. J. Foster Co.
Author: Shirley Jacques


ELIOT, Maine - In a three-hour meeting Thursday night,  selectmen 
voted 3-1 for a public hearing and special  board meeting for a town 
ordinance to control marijuana  dispensaries.

The meeting will be held Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall.

The board is seeking approval for a local ordinance  allowing local 
controls for any legal marijuana  dispensary looking to locate in Eliot.

A proposed ordinance written by former selectman John  Murphy was 
introduced Thursday night.

Murphy said, "The involvement of policing is minimal"  in the state 
law passed by voters statewide in the  November 2009 election to 
allow medical marijuana  dispensaries in Maine. Newly reelected 
selectman Michael Moynahan noted, "Under our existing 
local  ordinances, anyone could just come in under  agricultural 
zoning. We need to act on this and fast."

An official for a South Berwick medical group did speak  against a 
moratorium that was rejected in a clear hand  vote against a proposed 
moratorium at the annual town  meeting June 12. A landscaper and 
gardener from Kittery  who hopes to be a marijuana grower also spoke Thursday.

Town administrative assistant Dan Blanchette did say  there are no 
present applications pending before the  town.

On July 8, the state Department of Health and Human  Services will 
select one, and only one, medical  dispensary for York County. 
Reportedly, some 39  applications have been requested. Many York 
County  cities and towns already have moratoria in place.

State Rep. Sally Lewin of Eliot is the ranking  Republican on the 
DHHS committee. She has said  repeatedly, "My major concern all along 
has been public  safety. That some small growing operation for 
something still illegal by the federal government could come 
in  without local controls. We need a reasonable ordinance.  We've 
never discussed public safety issues surrounding  this stuff. We need 
to be much better prepared. We need  local controls."

Residents will have the chance to ask questions and  speak next 
Monday at the public hearing. Copies of the  proposed ordinance are 
available at the Town Hall and  the town website.

The board hopes informed residents will attend the  hearing and then 
vote to approve a warrant article for  a special town meeting 
Wednesday, July 7, at Marshwood  Middle School on Roue 236.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom