SACO, Maine — The city is now under a six-month moratorium on new medical marijuana growing facilities.
The City Council voted 5-1 Monday night to enforce the moratorium to give it time to study how medical marijuana growing facilities, known as medical marijuana caregiver facilities, fit into the city’s zoning ordinance.
City Administrator Kevin Sutherland said Saco has recently been flooded with inquiries from potential caregivers wanting to start growing facilities, and a moratorium would give the city staff and the planning board time to craft zoning regulations. Officials are concerned that industrial zones can’t handle the amount of electricity needed for caregiver facilities, he said.
City Councilor Eric Cote was opposed to the measure.
He thought the moratorium was not applicable under state law, which allows a moratorium to prevent a shortage or public facilities from being overburdened, or because existing ordinances and land use regulations are inadequate to prevent serious public harm from area residential commercial or industrial development.
Cote proposed to enforce the moratorium only in the industrial zones, because that is where the biggest concern for electricity usage was, but his proposal failed to get the support of the council.
Cote voted against the measure. Councilor Kevin Roche abstained, as his business was interested in a building that was later sold to a developer who intended to lease the building to medical marijuana growers.