BANGOR, Maine — While a task force discusses possible amendments to the state’s recently expanded medical marijuana law, municipalities are keeping a close eye on the outcome of those talks.

A provision of the ballot measure that was approved in November says that cities and towns are permitted to enact “reasonable zoning regulations” regarding medical marijuana dispensaries.

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Bangor is among many municipalities already talking about what to be prepared for at the local level.

Assistant City Solicitor Paul Nicklas briefed the City Council’s infrastructure committee Tuesday about the city’s options.

Nicklas said the most likely scenario would involve enacting zoning restrictions similar to what Bangor already has in place for chemical dependency facilities such as methadone clinics. Under those guidelines, a marijuana dispensary could not be located within 300 feet of a school, church, library, playground or park. Dispensaries would not be allowed in residential zones and would be located only on major arterial streets.

Bangor Code Enforcement Officer Dan Wellington said that zoning restrictions could be tricky depending on what the state decides. He said there is a distinction between growing marijuana and selling marijuana. The city does not have any zone that would allow both horticulture and retail sales.

Another provision from November’s referendum said that municipalities could limit the number of dispensaries. Councilor Geoff Gratwick wondered if the city should consider allowing one dispensary to start and go from there.

Nicklas said, so far, there is no precedent on capping the number of clinics, but he forecast that provision was probably going to be more clearly defined by the state task force.

At least one clinic is prepared to move forward in Bangor. Bangor lawyer Stephen Smith attended Tuesday’s meeting on behalf of an applicant. He did not speak but said after the meeting that he was gathering information for his client, whom he wouldn’t identify.

After much discussion, the city’s infrastructure committee agreed to move the matter forward to the full council later this month or early next month.

“This is something the whole council is going to want to weigh in on and possibly the public,” City Councilor Pat Blanchette said. “There will be a lot of people interested in this.”

Bangor is not the only municipality to take up the discussion of medical marijuana dispensaries. Across the Penobscot River, Brewer city councilors discussed concerns at a meeting last month before ultimately deciding to wait until any changes to the state law are final.

Michael Starn of the Maine Municipal Association said the issue has not come up much, but he expects it will.

“There is a provision that clearly states that there is some local regulatory authority,” Starn said Tuesday. “But I think generally all zoning has to be reasonable to some extent.

“I don’t know if local zoning is going to be a big issue or an isolated one. I guess we’ll see.”

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