January 23, 2018
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Frenchville considering temporary moratorium on marijuana facilities

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

FRENCHVILLE, Maine — Frenchville residents who recently learned that a Fort Kent nonprofit intends to open a medical marijuana facility in their community will meet again within the next few weeks to consider enacting a 180 day moratorium on establishing such an operation until residents and town officials can learn more about the facility and its potential impact on their community.

The special town meeting should be scheduled within the next 10 days, Frenchville Town Manager Phil Levesque said Wednesday.

During a public information meeting on Tuesday evening, approximately 75 citizens heard details about the operation from Safe Alternatives, an organization that was selected in July by the state to operate medical marijuana facilities for Aroostook County. Safe Alternatives was selected by the Department of Health and Human Services to serve Aroostook County, and listed a St. David address for the cultivation center in Madawaska and a Fort Kent address for the clinic on the application.

But officials in Frenchville learned recently that the community more than likely will be host to the soon-to-open dispensary and a cultivation center.

The dual facility now is planned for 479 Route 1 in Frenchville.

Fort Kent resident Mills “Leo” Trudell, CEO of Safe Alternatives, would like to use a house he owns in town for the joint medical marijuana clinic and growing center, Levesque explained. He is looking to convert an older home into the facility.

The DHHS’ Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services has the task of inspecting facilities and registering them. The Frenchville locale was recently inspected for Safe Alternatives and its registration was approved.

At this point, the town has no rules regarding medical marijuana facilities. Levesque said Wednesday that the lack of rules has some people leery.

“The public was concerned about the safety of having such a facility located in our community,” he said. “Most of the people saw a need for it, but there are lingering concerns about crime and the potential for abuse. There were a number of questions raised about the response time from police, as we do not have a police department here.”

Levesque said that the Board of Selectmen ultimately decided to schedule a special town meeting, where the crowd will entertain the idea of a 180-day moratorium.

“We just want to be responsible in creating rules for such a facility,” he said Wednesday.

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