Terry Ross

The Augusta, Maine City Council has passed a six-month moratorium on recreational cannabis sales, retroactive to Dec. 1, CentralMaine.com reports. The decision, which passed 5-3, delays adult-use sales in the state capitol until at least June 1, 2018.

Proponents of the moratorium argued that the city needed more time to develop rules and regulations for the industry; opponents of the moratorium argued its purpose.

Councilor At-large Marci Alexander: “The longer period of time is really to enable us to do the work that needs to be done for zoning. I’ve had constituents reach out to me, saying they want this planning process to take place and they have great concerns about a retail establishment or warehouse next to their homes.”

Ward 4 Councilor Anna Blodgett: “I will not be supporting the moratorium, as discussed a meeting ago with Sen. (Roger) Katz. It really will not serve any purpose. I’m not a user (of marijuana), but we’re looking at this like it’s poison. It seems we’re frantic about it. But we love it when a brewery opens. And alcohol, to me, is about on the same level.”

In November, state lawmakers passed recreational cannabis implementation laws; however, the bill package was vetoed by Gov. Paul LePage and the House was unable to muster the two-thirds support to override the governor’s veto.

The statewide moratorium is set to expire Feb. 1; although some Republican lawmakers have indicated they want to push the program launch to January 2019.

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