Saco enacts limits on cultivation of medical marijuana

The Saco City Council has approved an ordinance that restricts where medical marijuana growers can cultivate pot.

The small-scale marijuana growers, known under state law as caregivers, must either grow in their homes or in two of the city’s industrial zones.

Zoning rules adopted Monday night apply to suppliers who are registered with the state, have established patients and are growing marijuana outside of their primary residence. Maine law allows licensed caregivers to grow medical marijuana for up to five patients.

With increasing interest in commercial marijuana cultivation in the city, Saco put a six-month moratorium on new caregivers in June so it could draft its ordinance.

Councilors unanimously voted to approve the ordinance and repeal the moratorium Monday night. The ordinance went into effect on Tuesday.

Under the new rules, caregivers will be required to register as a business with the city and receive annual safety inspections from the fire department, code officer and electrical inspector. Grow operations will have to be in a secure area, cannot emit odor and cannot have outside displays that would draw attention to the business.

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