BREWER, Maine — City leaders decided Tuesday they need more time to finish writing rules regarding medical marijuana clinics opening within city limits, and unanimously enacted another six-month moratorium.
City councilors enacted a moratorium in December, then amended it in January, so the extra 180 days approved Tuesday will extend the ban until the end of the year.
The extension is important because it gives state officials time to complete their rules regarding the expanded medical marijuana law, and will allow local officials to review those before adding any local rules, if needed, said City Solicitor Joel Dearborn.
A city committee, which includes Police Chief Perry Antone, City Planner Linda Johns, City Councilor Jerry Goss and Dearborn, has been assigned to review the new state law.
Maine voters first approved the use of medical marijuana in 1999. The law allows people suffering from certain medical ailments, such as cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis, to use marijuana, to possess up to 2 1/2 ounces of the drug and to grow up to six plants.
Maine voters endorsed a referendum in November 2009 that expands that law to allow medical marijuana patients or their caregivers to legally buy marijuana from nonprofit, government-sanctioned dispensaries.
In April, state legislators approved a bill that allows up to eight medical marijuana dispensaries statewide and creates a state-run registry system for patients and caregivers who legally can possess the drug.
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services has until July 1 to create rules and regulations for those dispensaries, said Dearborn.
“We’re waiting for the July date,” he said. “That is key. One of the things they will talk about is the placement of these dispensaries.”
During Tuesday’s meeting, councilors also:
– Raised municipal fees for restaurants, bowling alleys, lodging and other establishments, some to the tune of 400 percent, and essentially doubled the price of parking tickets. A complete list of the new fees is available at the city clerk’s office.
– Wrote off bad debts for uncollectible water payments for the past two years, totaling $893 for 2008 and $2,834 for 2009.
– Recognized volunteers and supporters of the annual stream cleanup, and Sullivan Tire for operating in the city for one year.
– Proclaimed June 19 as Juneteenth, a day set aside to honor the day in 1865 when Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and that all slaves were free.
– Agreed to sell a warehouse built in 2000 with bond funds for ZF Lemforder to the company for the cost of the remaining original bond. Lemforder paid the city $1,084,425 on May 24 to purchase the warehouse, and turned around and sold the property to a local developer the same day.
– Approved another five-year contract with Pine Tree Waste Systems of Hermon for curbside pickup of trash and single-stream recycling. The cost of the contracts for the next five years is $881,347 for trash and $396,538 for the recycling.
– Named Mary Marquis, the city’s deputy treasurer, as the collector of taxes to replace Anna Thompson, who is retiring.
– Hired CB Seating of Somersworth, N.H., to install new bleachers at Doyle Field for $34,403. The job is scheduled to be complete by Aug. 31.