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Friday, August 10, 2018

Proposed amendments regarding medical marijuana caregiver retail stores does not pass by Lorraine Glowczak

The Windham Town Council met on Tuesday evening August 7 at the Town Hall in the Council Chambers to discuss a variety of agenda items. The items of greatest concern that filled the chamber room with area residents and Windham delegation was the discussion surrounding issues and recent changes in adult-use and medical marijuana.

Many municipalities, including Windham, have been struggling with how to handle requests from registered caregivers to operate medical marijuana retail stores. Existing law has been completely silent on the legal status of these stores and unclear as to municipal authority to regulate.

As a result, the Council invited Windham delegation, the town attorney, police chief and code enforcement to examine these complicated issues, specifically, the lack of clarity regarding the legality of retail caregiver stores.

Basic information provided to the Council included but not limited to the following:

There will be a constantly changing and rearranging of the laws regarding cannabis for a while.
Recreational use is largely up to the municipalities.
Violations of retail stores go to the Department of Health and Human Services.
https://www.egcu.org/homePolice can only enforce general violations.
Complaints about retail caregiver stores can be addressed during the businesses licensure renewal process.

The subject of medical caregiver retail storefronts was also discussed and was an agenda item that required action. The action considered was regarding a proposed amendment to the definition of a retail caregiver store. The proposed amendment was as follows:

“Caregiver Retail Store” – A Retail Sales establishment operated by a registered medical marijuana caregiver for the sale of marijuana and marijuana products to qualifying patients, which establishment may also include facilities for the conduct of any other activities authorized to be performed by a medical marijuana Caregiver pursuant to 22 M.R.S. Sec. 2423-A(2), as may be amended from time to time. Notwithstanding 1 M.R.S.A. § 302, this Amendment shall apply to all Caregiver Retail Stores not in operation on or before August 7, 2018 or authorized by a permit granted by the Town of Windham prior to August 7, 2018."

Area caregivers and owners of retail stores in Windham offered public comments, making the argument that medical marijuana provides relief for many ailments and, as such, the importance of not restricting this form of medication from patients.

Various council members expressed their views on the matter. Councilwoman Rebecca Cummings clarified that the proposed amendment was not a punitive action, but rather an effort to make sure that patients receive safe product and met quality assurance specifications. She mentioned the importance of commercial and home kitchen licenses for the safe making of edible products.

http://www.hallimplementco.com/Councilman Jarrod Maxfield expressed that any legal business should not be prevented from coming into town and stated he would not vote for the proposed amendment.

The action did not pass with four council members against the proposed amendment and three for.

For full details and other agenda items discussed, go to the town website at www.windhammaine.us. The meetings are also available to view on Facebook Live as well as recorded and broadcasted on Channel 7.

For patients who wish to know if their care provider is licensed for the use of a commercial or home kitchen can contact the Maine Department of Agriculture at www.maine.gov/dacf/

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