Brewer City Council passes new rules for future medical marijuana dispensaries, growers

Posted Nov. 15, 2010, at 11:47 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — Without discussing the matter or fielding any questions from the public, Brewer City Council unanimously enacted new medical marijuana rules that govern all future marijuana dispensaries or growing facilities.

After city leaders passed the new land use rules and repealed the nearly yearlong marijuana clinic moratorium, Councilor Larry Doughty asked the only question:

“Does all this means we’re ready to go?”

The answer is yes, City Solicitor Joel Dearborn responded.

The rules allow one marijuana dispensary or one cultivation facility or one joint dispensary and cultivation facility to open in the professional business district, which essentially is Dirigo Drive.

With 1,000-foot buffer zones for schools and 500-foot setbacks for homes, day cares, churches and methadone clinics, the only areas on Dirigo Drive where marijuana facilities can locate are just east of Green Point Road.

The area has several lots for sale, and extends up to Whiting Hill, which is where CancerCare of Maine is located.

Aside from location limitations, the rules also set the hours of operation as 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., require landscaping that doesn’t limit visibility and a large enough building so that there is no queuing outside.

Also required is 24-hour video surveillance inside and out, an alarm system that alerts police of intruders or if the power is cut, a safe for prepared marijuana and cash to be stored in overnight, exterior lighting, deadbolts, and locks or bars on the windows.

Consumption is not allowed on-site except for employees who are prescribed pot for medical reasons, and those people can only take the drug orally.

Councilor Manley DeBeck, who lost his seat during Nov. 2 local elections, took a few minutes during the public comments portion of Monday’s meeting to say thank you to fellow councilors and city staffers for their help over the last dozen years.

DeBeck’s term on the council officially ends tonight when Kevin O’Connell, a high school district trustee, is sworn in to fill his seat at the annual joint school board and city council meeting, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Muddy Rudder.

DeBeck recounted his time on the council, and mentioned three specific memories: the decision to hire current City Manager Steve Bost; how the city’s tax rate had dropped to one of the lowest in the area while maintaining services; and how city residents stepped up to support displaced workers who lost their jobs when Easter Fine Paper Co., his longtime employer, closed in January 2004.

“That impressed me tremendously,” he said.

DeBeck said city staffers work very hard to make Brewer a city to be proud of, and added that they have become his extended family.

“I don’t believe there is another community in this state that has that kind of dedication,” he said.

DeBeck was given a standing ovation, and his fellow councilor presented him with a plaque thanking him for the service to the community.

Bost said he and city staffer would miss DeBeck’s presence on the council.

“Manley bleeds black and orange,” he said. “You are true Brewer.”

“This community … is a better place because of your time on this council,” Dearborn said.

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