Cumberland council to mull pot dispensary zone

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CUMBERLAND — The Town Council on Monday scheduled a public hearing for Monday, Feb. 10, on whether to allow registered medical marijuana dispensaries in part of the town.

The discussion, of amending the town code to allow dispensaries as a permitted use in the Office Commercial North district, follows a Jan. 21 recommendation to do so by the Planning Board.

The OC-N zone comprises U.S. Route 1 from the Tuttle Road ramp north to the Yarmouth town line.

Medical marijuana dispensaries have been allowed in Maine since 2009, and Cumberland is trying to anticipate their establishment by designating one area for that use.

“What we don’t want to do is basically have to react to an application,” Town Manager Bill Shane said Jan. 17. “And when we react to an application, we usually end up putting a moratorium in place, and giving six to 12 months to talk about it. It just is very distracting when you’re trying to run a town (and) trying to grow a town.”

The town is therefore pursuing a more proactive approach by designating an area for the use, Shane explained.

Although the Town Council had been scheduled to hold a public hearing Monday on proposed amendments to the Comprehensive Plan, the panel opted to table the matter to allow for more discussion and feedback from residents.

A workshop on the amendments will be held Monday, Feb. 3.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.