HANCOCK — With the status of laws and regulations regarding commercial cannabis products still uncertain in Maine, many local towns are in the process of bringing some clarity to the situation with their own regulations.
Hancock is among them. The town’s planning board is reviewing an application for a wholesale producer of cannabidiol, or CBD.
“The current application hasn’t been completed yet, but it is for the wholesale production of CBD products only,” said Hancock Planning Board Chairwoman Katherine Colwell.
The wholesale business would be located on Route 1 near the Hancock Town Office. Colwell stated that the business would be part of the Luck of the Irish brand.
CBD is a chemical compound derived from both hemp and marijuana plants. Often used to treat pain or anxiety, it does not produce any of the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
It is legal and available over the counter in Maine, although the broader state of cannabis legalization in the state remains unclear. Recreational use was first approved by Maine voters in 2016, but implementation has been a slow process.
A regulatory bill for recreational use was vetoed last year by former Governor Paul LePage, although that veto was eventually overturned by the state Legislature in May of 2018. A subsequent bill governing sales of medical marijuana went through the same veto and overturning process in July of 2018.
In the interim, many local towns have enacted their own temporary moratoriums on commercial cannabis while waiting for more clarity from the state, although Hancock has not been among them.
“There have been very preliminary discussions about addressing that,” Colwell said. “That’s something the selectmen and the Planning Board will have to address eventually.”
At the town’s annual meeting in 2017, Hancock voters decided to postpone any decision on the matter until further state regulations were enacted.
“The state oversees the regulations, but any town or county does not need to wait for the state,” said Antonio Blasi, chairman of the Hancock County Commissioners and a member of the Hancock Planning Board.
Blasi also stated that the town might eventually consider regulating retail, testing, production and cultivation of cannabis products in Hancock, although there was not a clear timeline in place for that to happen.