City Rejects “First Read” Marijuana Moratorium by Suslovic & Ray


By Carol McCracken  (Post # 2,616)

District 1 City Councilor Belinda Ray Supported an Ordinance to Put an Emergency Moratorium on Marijuana into Effect Tonight.

District 1 City Councilor Belinda Ray Co-Sponsored an Ordinance For an Emergency Marijuana Moratorium Tonight.  It Did Not Pass.

The City Council rejected a proposal to waive the first read of a proposed moratorium on marijuana sales establishments by a 6 – 3 vote earlier this evening – a moratorium that some testified was politically motivated since the referendum to legalize marijuana is on Portland’s ballot tomorrow, November 8, 2016.  The moratorium that will be taken up on November 21st was sought by Councilors Ed Suslovic and Belinda Ray.  (Ray represents District 1.)

The public received news of this proposed “emergency” ordinance only three (3) hours before the city council meeting at 5:00 pm. today – which for most councilors was a compelling reason to delay the vote until its next meeting.  Despite the case for an emergency moratorium laid out by corporation counsel, Danielle West-Chutha, only Councilor Nick Mavadones bought it with Suslovic and Ray.

David Boyer, Campaign Manager for Yes On 1, a referendum to legalize marijuana in Maine,since the referendum hasn’t even passed yet and it will be months before stores can possibly open-up.  “This is unnecessary – a waste of time.” This last minute effort “begs the question.  What has the committee been discussing all this time.  Are we allowing people adequate time to form an opinion?” said Brian Batson, who is running for City Council tomorrow. Joey Brunelle was stunned by the last-minute, non-agended item.  “Do councilors have enough time to form an opinion?”

Part of the irony stemmed from Mavadones rejection of an earlier environmental issue proposed by Jon Hinck based on the lack of adequate notification to those most affected by he new ordinance.  However, in the instant example, where the public received perhaps three hours notice, the notification issue did not apply. Double standard?  Hinck’s odinance easily passed without Mavadones’ vote or the vote of Councilor David Brennerman.

“We are glad that the Council decided to table this for two weeks so that the public has ample time to be part of the process,” said Boyer.

Following the vote, Councilor Ray said that she was not “disappointed.  I’m fine with it.  I enjoy the debate.  The debate is fun.  It’s fine with me.”

What Were They Thinking?!