Frustration over lack of marijuana growing rules in Scarborough

Pot wafting into residential backyard

SCARBOROUGH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — As state lawmakers continue crafting rules for legalized marijuana in Maine, they are learning about more issues and unintended consequences related to the law.

In Scarborough, the developer of new homes and some residents are concerned about a neighbor growing marijuana in the residential area. Under the law right now, he is not doing anything illegal.

In 2014 developer Joe Frustaci began constructing new homes in the Scarborough subdivision, long before marijuana became legal in Maine. Now he's worried about the impact marijuana being grown on an abutting property will have on his project.

"I'm upset. I'm upset, I'm disturbed and I'm concerned for my buyers," he said.

Frustaci now faces an ethical and business dilemma.

"Is this something we should disclose to our buyers?", he asked.

Four months ago Courtney and Steve Reeves moved into their dream home there.

"We had no idea and then we come to find out this is a problem that we now have to live with for who knows how long," said Steve Reeves.

Under the law, it's legal to grow up to 6 flowering marijuana plants. Courtney Reeves says the neighbor told her he has two other adults living there, so they'll be growing 18 plants right behind the Reeves' new home.

"We left my daughter's bedroom window open one day and came in and our whole house reeked of marijuana", she said.

The Reeves are frustrated because there's nothing they can do about it.

"The concern for me definitely was passing a law that wasn't more defined," Courtney Reeves said.

These are the types of issues a legislative committee is now working on.

"All those kinds of issues weren't really specifically in the referendum question," said Sen. Roger Katz, R-Kennebec.

Sen. Katz is the Senate chair of the committee. He says it's likely any decisions about banning growing in neighborhoods or setting distances from other people's properties would likely be made on a local level.

"I think there's an inclination to leave a lot of these decisions to local boards of selectmen and city councils, but no decisions yet," he said.

It will be awhile before any decisions on this issue are made. That's because the legislative committee still has a lot of work to do and local communities are holding off making any of their own decisions until they see the rules set by the state.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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