Food trucks allowed to move forward in SoPo, pot sales stalled

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SOUTH PORTLAND — The City Council paved the way for food trucks to do business, but want to extend a roadblock placed on marijuana retail sales and social clubs.

Those wanting to get into the marijuana business could have to wait another six months, as the Council approved a first reading May 1 to extend two existing marijuana moratoriums set to expire May 20 for another 180 days.

Between them, the zoning ordinance and the licensing ordinance both effectively establish a moratorium on retail marijuana establishments and social clubs in the city.

Both moratoriums passed 4-1, with Councilor Claude Morgan opposed.

Morgan said moratoriums should only be reserved for really sensitive or imperative issues. He also said voters have decided to support marijuana legalization by compelling numbers.

“I don’t think we are introducing small pox to our community. I don’t believe those voters who voted weren’t introducing small pox either,” Morgan said.

Councilor Maxine Beecher said, “If I had my way at all we wouldn’t do marijuana at all, but the point is, it has been sanctioned by the citizens.”

Beecher said the city needs more time and it needs to be careful about where pot is grown, where it is extracted and where social clubs are located.

Councilors also voted 5-0 in favor of two proposed ordinances that would allow licensed trucks to operate at Bug Light Park and the public boat launch, and Wainwright Athletic Complex – among other public places – from 8 a.m.-8 p.m., seven days a week. It would also allow food trucks to operate on private property

As it stands, food trucks are generally not allowed on public property except during special events. There would be limitations placed on the operation of the trucks, which would preclude them from operating during some special events and within 500 feet of a licensed restaurant.

“I think it is exciting for South Portland to enjoy what we have seen in other cities and around the country,” Cohen said of the mobile vendors.

In other news, the language to change a resolution that some feared might mark South Portland as a sanctuary city was postponed until the next council meeting because Councilor Eben Rose, who sponsored the new language to the resolution, was not in attendance.

Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or msochan@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter@melaniesochan.

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