Dover-Foxcroft will block its new order on medical marijuana caregivers
DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — The Dover-Foxcroft Select Board is expected to block parts of a new medical marijuana caregiver order that negatively affects another group of people.
Voters passed the ordinance last month that would require medical marijuana caregivers to be licensed in Dover-Foxcroft beyond the required state license. It was intended to prevent people from growing marijuana without permission and proper facilities.
But local councils will now have to take urgent action to address this due to the unintended consequences of the ordinance on local families.
Dover-Foxcroft resident Charles Hildebrant spoke to the board on Monday about Bettie, his mother-in-law who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2013 and is dependent on medical marijuana and will be hurt by the new order.
After four years of conventional medical care and strong medications such as antipsychotics, Bettie tried medical marijuana, which gave him immediate relief and added years to his life, he said.
Language in the marijuana prescription could harm Bettie because it prevents Hildebrant and her family from growing the cannabis that relieves her pain, he said. After hearing Bettie’s story, the Select Board decided it needed to review the order.
Due to the urgent nature of Hildebrant’s concern, council could adopt a moratorium so that the newly imposed restrictions are suspended while the city considers larger changes to the ordinance, City Manager Jack Clukey said.
“Somehow without an alarm being raised in the hospice community [and] somehow without the neighbors alerting us, language was written into the amended land use ordinance that could effectively remove Bettie’s sacred plant,” Hildebrant said.
He pointed to a section of the order that lists performance standards for marijuana-related activities. For example, “the minimum setback from any property line for the cultivation of marijuana is 25 feet in the Village, Hamlet, Rural and Downtown residential neighborhoods”, and 50 feet in all other neighborhoods, according to the order.
The section also calls for a closed and locked installation; a screening that allows no outside evidence of cultivation, processing or storage of marijuana; good ventilation and odor management; and other requirements.
“When you actually try to enforce this, most properties wouldn’t be able to have this structure,” Hildebrant, who lives in the village district, said on Tuesday. “You must also comply with the rest of the land use code.”
The new restrictions will cause hardship for patients and their families, he said. Many local properties do not have enough room to site such a structure, and it could cost thousands of dollars to meet the requirements set out in the ordinance.
Patients with sufficient funds and space would likely have to wait until 2023 before a facility meeting specifications could be built due to recent equipment shortages and difficulty finding an available contractor, he said. declared.
Hildebrant and his family members are not medical marijuana caregivers and are not required to be registered as such, he said. Because they are caring for a family member in the same household and Bettie has a medical marijuana ID card, they are allowed to grow and supply medical marijuana to her without falling under the title of registered carer, he said.
Board member Stephen Grammont, who also sits on the city’s land use committee, said the group should carefully review the wording of the ordinance to weed out unintended consequences.
The ordinance was primarily created to prevent people from growing on a commercial scale without permission and proper facilities, he said. The city encountered issues that infringed the rights of other residents, so an ordinance was drafted, he said.
Board member Michael Sutton asked about the urgency of the matter.
“Technically, it’s currently illegal for me to put these plants outside, and they’re ready to go out,” Hildebrant said. “Time is everything. It takes the season to produce the harvest.
Council voted to hold a public hearing on the moratorium at its next meeting. The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. on May 23 at the Dover-Foxcroft Municipal Building.
If the moratorium passes and the ordinance is reconsidered, Hildebrant would like to see the city form a committee of stakeholders, including people from the care and palliative care communities and possibly a doctor, so that mistakes are not repeated. , did he declare. Hildebrant wants to be involved in how the ordinances language is reviewed, he said.