Old Orchard Beach considers lifting cap on marijuana businessesPosted by On

Linda LeBlanc of Newton, Massachusetts packs up her lawn chair and leaves the beach in Old Orchard Beach on the evening of September 21. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Old Orchard Beach leaders are considering lifting the cap on the number of retail marijuana businesses, taking the step months after a contentious referendum set strict limits on who could qualify for the town’s sole cannabis shop license and prompted a lawsuit against the town.

Discussions about whether to allow marijuana businesses at all – as well as where to allow them and how to choose them – have dragged on since before 2020, when residents voted to allow adult-use stores in Old Orchard Beach.

Last June, voters decided to limit any potential cannabis store to 1,000 square feet of retail space. In September, the town received three applications for the license. The town had received previous applications and opened them in March, but they were scrapped after one applicant claimed the town changed the rules to favor his competitor and filed a lawsuit to stop the process until after the June vote.

The licensing process has been mired in uncertainty since then.

In the latest application process, Theory Wellness, was chosen. But the company is still working to secure final approval to open a store on Ocean Park Road. As that moves forward, town councilors say they’re open to considering removing the cap and eliminating the required 1,000-foot buffer between marijuana…

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