By Stephen Betts | Nov 19, 2019
Rockland — The fourth medical marijuana business in the city was approved Tuesday night by the Rockland Planning Board.
The Board unanimously approved Nov. 19 the proposal by Nancy Shaw of Swanville to operate a medical marijuana processing facility at 11 Lime St., the part of the former Bicknell Manufacturing building located closest to Tillson Avenue.
The business — New World Organics — must still get a license from the City Council. She hopes to open by Jan. 1.
Shaw is leasing the property from Dupont which operates its carrageenan manufacturing plant further down Lime Street.
Three other medical marijuana businesses have already been approved.
Scrimshaw at 500 Main Street received approval in May 2018 from the Planning Board, and the City Council voted in August 2018 to issue a permit for the business.
Highbrow at 696 Main St., the former site of a C.N. Brown gas station, was approved by the Planning Board on Oct. 1.
Dirigo Medical CBD at 270 Park Street, which had formerly been used by Midcoast Children’s Services, and before that, by Grace Bible Fellowship, got Planning Board approval Oct. 15.
Both Highbrow and Dirigo got their medical marijuana licenses approved by the City Council on Nov. 13.
The Rockland City Council is scheduled to have a meeting Monday, Nov. 25 with its attorney to review a proposed new ordinance to regulate medical and retail marijuana stores.
State law allows retail stores, however, a municipality must approve a local law for retail to operate in individual communities. The City Council has yet to vote on allowing retail operations.
At an Oct. 30 City Council meeting, a majority of councilors indicated support for allowing retail in the, even in the downtown section.
Voters said no in a November 2018 referendum to allowing adult recreational marijuana stores in the downtown by a 1,610 to 1,282 tally (56 percent to 44 percent). But they said they would support recreational marijuana stores elsewhere in the city by a 1,670 to 1,240 tally (57 percent to 43 percent).
At the Oct. 30 meeting, Councilor Valli Geiger said at the time of the referendum, there was a great difference between medical marijuana and retail marijuana but that has changed. She pointed out that all someone has to do now is go into a medical marijuana store and go on Skype to get approval for a medical marijuana card.
“It’s a distinction without a difference,” Geiger said about medical marijuana stores and retail stores.
Councilor Ben Dorr said at the Oct. 30 meeting that it would be hypocritical to allow bars but prohibit retail marijuana stores.