ELLSWORTH — A public forum will take place next week, giving city residents a chance to ask questions and share opinions on what place marijuana should have in the city’s future.
The forum will take place Wednesday, Nov. 15, at 6 p.m. at the Moore Community Center (5 General Moore Way, just off of State Street). It will feature four panel members with different perspectives on marijuana.
Those panelists are Ellsworth Police Chief Glenn Moshier, Rep. Louie Luchini (D-Ellsworth), lawyer and marijuana advocate Alysia Melnick and certified prevention specialist Tara Young of Healthy Acadia. The event will be moderated by John Fink, chairman of the city’s Planning Board.
After Maine voters legalized recreational marijuana use a year ago, the City Council put a ban in place on retail marijuana businesses in December of last year. It will remain in effect for up to two years. Officials said it was designed to give city officials time to review options and come up with specific regulations.
Separately, the council voted in June of this year to prohibit medical marijuana caregivers — who are regulated under different state laws put in place previously — from operating outside of their homes.
That move came after the city started to receive requests for caregivers to set up operations outside of their primary residences and in commercial-type spaces. Pending a renewal or other action by the council, that moratorium is set to expire in December.
The city is also home to Maine Organic Therapy, one of eight medical marijuana dispensaries in Maine. It is not affected by the moratorium enacted in June.
City officials said the Nov. 15 forum is a chance for residents to get information, but that it is equally a chance for them to ask questions or share concerns. The officials said they want to hear from members of the public.