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New ordinance prohibits recreational marijuana establishments

The Town Council on Aug. 14, 2017 adopted an ordinance outlawing social clubs as well as the cultivation, manufacture, testing and retail sales of recreational marijuana in Cape Elizabeth.

At the same meeting the council voted to extend its 180-moratorium on marijuana establishments to Sept. 14, covering the 30 days before the new ordinance takes effect.

The ordinance regulating marijuana is the town's response to passage last November of a statewide referendum legalizing the sale of recreational pot. The legislation, approved by a slim margin statewide, authorizes municipalities to regulate or to prohibit retail marijuana businesses within their jurisdictions.

Voting against the Cape ordinance was Councilor Penny Jordan, who said she believed that outlawing cultivation may deny a farmer's right to farm. "I totally agree that I don't want a social club or establishments of retail sales," Jordan said. "But I truly believe that people should be able to operate businesses where they manufacture value-added products that may be able to be sold in other towns or in other places."

Caitlin Jordan, another councilor who serves on the committee that drafted the ordinance, said application may depend on what rules and definitions the Legislature comes up with as it fine-tunes itslegislation. "We need to hold here for a while and see what happens," Caitlin Jordan said.

Regulating marijuana with a stand-alone chapter in the code of ordinance will make regulations easier to amend or to replace, said Councilor Patty Grennon, chair of the ordinance subcommittee.