Portland latest city to propose moratorium on marijuana dispensaries

Portland votes on dispensary moratorium

*UPDATE – The Portland City Council voted down the moratorium Monday night in a 6-3 vote, NEWS CENTER has confirmed. The Press Herald reports councilors were concerned that any emergency action could influence the vote.

They are scheduled to take up the proposed moratorium in two weeks.

The Press Herald also reports the city of Westbrook approved its own moratorium, unanimously, Monday night.

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Portland Councilor Ed Suslovic has proposed a vote Monday night on blocking dispensaries within the city for up to six months if voters approve legalizing marijuana; but the city's mayor doesn't agree with the decision.

Councilor Suslovic say that if Question 1 passes, the city should be prepared. A six month moratorium would give them time to figure out rules and regulations before a dispensary moves in.

It's a move other cities including Bangor, Westbrook and Gray have already proposed.

Mayor Ethan Strimling agrees with the idea of taking time to figure out what it would mean for the city, but he doesn't agree with the timing on this, calling it a political move. "I don't think having a headline in the paper the day before the election for or against a moratorium is a good idea because it might influence voters in terms of scaring them, that you have to have a moratorium or this could explode, or making them feel like everything will be safe because a moratorium is in place."

The state has already said it will need nine months to figure out its own regulations, so Strimling says imposing a six month moratorium is just redundant.

"If we wait to take action until later, some folks may come in Wednesday, the day after the election, fill out applications and say, 'Wait a minute, these new rules don't apply to me because I had my application in before you acted on it,'" said Suslovic.

Suslovic added that the vote is not a stance for or against Question 1, just an opportunity to ensure the city has plenty of time to get its bearings.

Copyright 2016 WCSH


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