Marijuana & the Town of Orono
At the upcoming Annual Municipal Election held on March 9, 2021, the people of Orono will have a chance to vote whether or not the Town will opt-in to allow marijuana establishments within Orono.
This page is intended as a resource to communicate information that the Town is considering in its process of deciding whether or not to "opt in" as a municipality to allow Adult Use (formerly 'recreational') or Medical sales of marijuana. Its purpose is also to provide pertinent information on allowances given to adult residents of Orono by the implementation of state laws regarding Adult Use and Medical marijuana, including personal use.
In the 2016 election, Maine voters approved the recreational use, retail sale and taxation of marijuana (Orono voting was 3446 - 2039 approve vs disapprove).
At the upcoming Annual Municipal Election held on March 9, 2021, the people of Orono will have a chance to vote whether or not the Town will opt-in to allow marijuana establishments within Orono. These marijuana establishments include retail stores and dispensaries, manufacturing facilities, testing facilities, and cultivation facilities. The opt-in vote does not regulate personal use. The Adult Use Marijuana Act and Medical Use of Marijuana Act both require that municipalities opt-in to allow different types of marijuana establishments before those marijuana establishments may operate within a municipality. The Town has prepared ordinance language that defines these marijuana establishments as land uses, allows them in specified zoning districts, creates performance standards to reduce the risk of negative impacts on the community, and establishes licensing requirements. This ordinance language has gone through numerous Council committee meetings as well as both Planning Board and Town Council Public Hearings. The ordinance language will be the basis of the vote on March 9th, 2021 to decide whether or not Orono should “opt-in” to allow the operation of marijuana establishments within the Town.
Town Decision-Making Process on Marijuana Sales
The following is an overview of the Town's decision-making process regarding retail sales of Adult Use marijuana and dispensing of Medical marijuana in Orono, including presentations by the planning board.
On November 15, 2018 Town Planner Kyle Drexler gave a presentation at a Community Development Committee Meeting on the Regulation of Adult Use and Medical Marijuana Establishments. The Committee had a discussion on the topic; minutes of the meeting with presentation slides and audio linked below.
This presentation was given to Council to explain and outline the regulatory decisions that have to be considered going forward if the Town were to allow medical and/or adult use marijuana establishments. The Town would have the ability to place restrictions and additional design standards on these establishments that other similar businesses do not have to follow. Some possible restrictions and standards were discussed as well as possible zoning districts where each establishment type may best fit if they were to be allowed.
Previously, Town Planner Kyle Drexler presented to Town Council an introduction to retail marijuana, on September 20, 2018. Presentation slides and audio of the presentation are linked below.
This presentation was given to Council to provide background information on what each of the four marijuana establishment types consist of. Possible issues and nuisance concerns that may accompany these types of establishments were discussed as well as some best practice approaches that other communities have taken to deal with those issues.
State of Maine Marijuana Laws
The following is an overview of current state of Maine laws regarding Adult Use (formerly 'recreational') and Medical marijuana in the state of Maine.
Persons 21 years of age or older may:
- Use, possess or transport at any one time up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana or 2 ½ ounces of a combination of marijuana and marijuana concentrate that includes no more than 5 grams of marijuana concentrate
- Use, possess, purchase or transport marijuana paraphernalia
- Possess, cultivate or transport at any one time up to 3 mature marijuana plants, 12 immature marijuana plants and an unlimited number of seedlings and possess all the marijuana produced by such plants at the person's place of residence or at the location where the marijuana was cultivated
- Purchase up to 12 immature marijuana plants or seedlings from a nursery cultivation facility as described in section 301, subsection 5 or from a marijuana store
- Consume marijuana or marijuana products in a private residence, including curtilage; or on private property, not generally accessible by the public, and the person is explicitly permitted to consume marijuana or marijuana products on the property by the owner of the property
Information regarding use of Adult Use marijuana and the workplace, adapted from another presentation of the Maine Municipal Association (Attn: link goes to a direct download of a PowerPoint presentation).
1. Marijuana in workplace: An employer is not required to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, trade, display, transportation, sale or cultivation of marijuana or marijuana products in the workplace
2. Workplace policies regarding marijuana use. May enact and enforce workplace policies restricting the use of marijuana and marijuana products by employees in the workplace or while otherwise engaged in activities within the course and scope of employment; and
3. Discipline of employees. May discipline employees who are under the influence of marijuana in the workplace or while otherwise engaged in activities within the course and scope of employment in accordance with the employer's workplace policies regarding the use of marijuana and marijuana products by employees.
*Except as otherwise provided in the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act
Background and Context
LD 1719, the Adult Use Marijuana Act, re-writes the existing non-medical Marijuana Legalization Act and requires municipalities to opt-in to allow marijuana establishments.Municipalities must “opt-in” to allow adult use establishments, including:
Background and Context
Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act - This is the original version of the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act, much of which has been re-written through LD 1539, which follows below.
Medical Marijuana Law Amendments – P.L. 2017 c. 452 (LD 1539)
- A complete overhaul of the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act (22 M.R.S. §§ 2421-2430-B)
- Enacted July 9, 2018, effective December 13, 2018
- Authorizes registered caregivers to operate medical marijuana retail stores
- Allows six additional registered dispensaries, eliminates cap on dispensaries after 2021
- Establishes state registration requirements for medical marijuana products manufacturing
- Local code enforcement officers can obtain caregiver registration information from State
- Expressly recognizes municipal home rule authority to regulate registered caregivers, registered caregiver retail stores, registered dispensaries, testing facilities and manufacturing facilities, except municipalities cannot prohibit or limit number of caregivers
- Default will be prohibition – after December 13, 2018, municipalities must vote to “opt-in” to operation of registered caregiver retail stores, registered dispensaries, testing facilities, and manufacturing facilities
- Medical marijuana establishments already in operation with municipal approval as of December 13, 2018, were grandfathered