Hampden looks to extend medical pot moratorium

Posted Dec. 23, 2010, at 12:04 a.m.

HAMPDEN, Maine — Town councilors will hold a public hearing in early January and then vote on whether to extend a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries for another 180 days.

The Town Council voted in June to enact its first 180-day moratorium to allow municipal time to review local zoning regulations and develop an appropriate ordinance.

Town Manager Susan Lessard said this week that staff and planning board members still are working on that ordinance and need more time.

“We don’t have any applications or interest about a dispensary,” she said. “But we still want to have an ordinance in place. Like any other town, we need to have a thoughtful discussion.”

The public hearing and vote on the moratorium extension is scheduled for the council’s regular meeting Monday, Jan. 3.

Hampden leaders are expected to impose restrictions on where dispensaries could be located and require any operator to have certain safety measures in place, Lessard said.

Last fall, Maine voters overwhelmingly approved an expansion of the state’s medical marijuana law to allow for the creation of dispensaries. Earlier this year, the state approved eight clinics across the state and began accepting applications.

Northeast Patients Group, the nonprofit firm that has been licensed to operate four clinics throughout the state, including a clinic for Penobscot and Piscataquis counties, has said it likely would locate a dispensary in Bangor.

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