Select council accepts license applications for three medical marijuana stores in Livermore Falls

LIVERMORE FALLS — Selectmen accepted three applications Tuesday in 4-1 votes for licenses for medical marijuana retail stores following a public hearing.

Vice President Ernie Souther opposed the motions while President Jeffrey Bryant, Jim Long, Will Kenniston, and Rodney Heikkinen voted in favor of acceptance.

A fourth claim, which has also been heard, is to undergo a site visit by Code Enforcement Officer Jay Nichols for the gas station at 57 Main Street. If Westbrook owner Edward Symbal has done so before Tuesday, council will consider at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

The board will issue a written license within 15 days for businesses for which it has accepted applications, unless the issuance of the license violates any provision of the Medical Marijuana Establishment Licensing Ordinance. Voters passed it on November 2 by a vote of 482 to 257.

Before the Select Council took decisions, the proposed conditions on signs and marketing were introduced for the first time. The council took no action. The language of the sign ordinance is vague.

The ordinance went through about seven drafts and a review by the city attorney before being put out to voters.

Board Chairman Jeffrey Bryant said he would like an attorney to review the proposed terms to make sure everything is legal.

During the discussion, Souther offered to file all rulings until the ordinance is changed to limit the number of establishments that can be in town. The motion died for lack of a second.

All four apps are grandfathered, Bryant said.

“These companies have put in a lot of time and effort to get this far,” he said.

City Manager Amanda Allen agreed. She said the companies had been patient and she was not comfortable with the applications being filed.

Applications for the site review went to a Planning Board level hearing on 19 January and were granted.

Resident Bob Jones pointed out that the town has a population of less than 3,500 and there will be four medical marijuana stores approximately 1,050 feet from Main Street. He said he did not understand why limits on the number of establishments were not included in the order.

Bryant said he honestly didn’t think of it.

It was also necessary to write a question before September 2 for the November 2 ballot.

“We’re going to be known as the marijuana row,” Jones said, adding that it reminded him of the gold rush days.

“It’s green gold,” he said.

Amanda Ricci, who operates Lifeline for ME, which provides mental health and addiction services, at Central Plaza expressed concerns about marijuana signs and a medical marijuana business next to her business. Marijuana is a brain-altering substance, she said.

Ricci said his services are important, especially with the high rate of overdoses.

Some residents have pointed out that marijuana is beneficial for some for pain and other ailments.

Mark Mancini of Jay, who is seeking a license for a medical retail store, Tree Tops, at 72 Main St. next to Lifeline for ME, said he will ensure his signage and marketing are respectful.

Livermore’s Christopher Shea wants to open Fish Meadow Cannabis at 93 Main Street. He gave information about himself and said his sign and advertising would be in good taste. He used medical marijuana to help relieve pain from a serious back injury. He doesn’t take pain pills, he said.

He wants to open a store in the old Liberty Tax storefront in the Food City building. He understands that if his business negatively affects Food City, he will have to leave. He just wants to give back to the community, he said.

Robert Tarrant of West Gardiner would like to open BJ’s Cannabis at 75 Main St. His emblem is some marijuana leaves with BJ’s Cannabis on them.

No cultivation of marijuana will be done in the shops. The security systems are very good, Nichols said.

The Planning Board will hold a public hearing for two more site review applications for two medical marijuana retail stores at 6:30 p.m. on February 16 at the municipal office. Kris Coburn wants to open Natural Thumb at 41 Main St., a vacant storefront in the Western Auto complex, and Roger Moulton wants to open The Local Joint at 7 Baldwin St.

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