BREWER, Maine — Before city leaders voted Tuesday about whether to impose a marijuana cultivation moratorium, Councilor Joseph Ferris said he saw no reason to ban the growing of medicinal pot.
“I think it’s development, it’s growth,” he said. “I don’t think we need to ban cultivation.”
The city already has a moratorium on medical marijuana clinics in place that expires at the end of the year.
There is a big difference between pot clinics and facilities that grow the drug for distribution, Ferris said.
“This is going to be guarded buildings, regulated,” he said. “I don’t have a problem with it. I certainly don’t think we need a moratorium.”
Fellow councilors disagreed with Ferris with the final vote being 4-1 in favor of a four-month ban on medical marijuana growing facilities. The moratorium expires on the Dec. 10, which is the day the marijuana clinic moratorium ends.
A city committee, which includes Police Chief Perry Antone, City Planner Linda Johns, City Councilor Jerry Goss and City Solicitor Joel Dearborn, has been tasked with reviewing the city’s land use code and aligning it with the newly expanded state law.
Maine voters first approved the use of medical marijuana in 1999, and in November 2009 expanded the law to include more medical conditions and the creation of nonprofit, government-sanctioned clinics.
To supply the medical marijuana clinics, the law now allows marijuana cultivation centers to grow six plants for each registered patient.
Dearborn said the ad hoc committee is winding up its review and will present proposed land use updates concerning medicinal pot clinics and growing facilities in the next month or so.
“We’re well on our way,” he said.
During the meeting, the board also:
• Endorsed placing the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame in the new Bangor Auditorium-Civic Center, once constructed.
• Accepted donations totaling $2,000 for Brewer Days from Eastern Maine Healthcare System, National Bath Systems, Marden’s and Brewer Federal Credit Union; and a grant from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grant program to purchase ballistic vests for the police department.
• Purchased a pickup truck for Brewer Parks and Recreation Department for $19,702 to replace a 1996 truck that no longer passes inspection; and a backhoe for the Water Department for $60,800 to replace one used since 1986.
• Declared the old public safety building on South Main Street surplus and agreed to hire an industrial hygienist to inspect the property for environmental hazards before it is demolished by Public Works.
• Authorized burning the building at 296 Wiswell Road for Fire Department training.
• Declared the hovercraft surplus and authorized its disposal.
• Changed the October City Council meeting date to Oct. 5.
• Hired Maine Tennis and Track of Gray to resurface the Brewer High School tennis courts for $11,825.
• Endorsed building a small park with a masonry wall and 14 off-street parking spaces at the junction of Wilson Street and North Main Street.