Temporary Marijuana Moratorium to be Considered by Council Tonight

Councilor Ed Suslovic Co-sponsors an Emergency Moratorium on Marijuana Retail Sales.

Councilor Ed Suslovic Wants an Emergency Moratorium on Marijuana Retail Sales.

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 2,615)

A six month moratorium on retail marijuana establishments and social clubs is expected to be introduced at tonight’s city council meeting by Councilors Belinda Ray (District 1) and Ed Suslovic. City staff is recommending that the required second reading be waived and that action be taken tonight to pass the moratorium as an emergency and non-agenda item.

This action would be taken so that staff can review and draft rules and ordinances for the potential regulation of these new types of businesses seeking to operate in Portland.

“Because of the lack of state regulations, it’s important that we make sure we understand the potential safety concerns should the referendum pass and the Act become implemented by the state,” said Suslovic, Chair of the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee.  “This moratorium will allow staff more time to better coordinate potential city regulations with any that may be implemented by the state,” said Suslovic in a press release issued today.

Council action on this item is necessary because the November 8th (tomorrow) election includes a referendum on the legalization of marijuana in Maine.  The full language of the Marijuana Legalization Act, (MLA)  as it is known, allows municipalities to regulate the number of clubs and stores.  A moratorium on the licensing of retail marijuana establishments, including stores, cultivation facilities, retail testing facilities and marijuana social clubs which are permitted in the MLA, will allow city staff and the State of Maine the time needed to draft regulations in advance of the municipal and state licensing of the businesses should the referendum pass.

District 1 Councilor Belinda Ray agrees with the above sentiment expressed by Councilor Suslovic.   She is a member of the Council’s Health & Human Services Committee of which Suslovic is the chair.

The City Council meeting begins at 5:00 pm tonight.