ROCKLAND — The possibility of a third medical marijuana business in downtown Rockland has prompted the city’s mayor to propose a moratorium on such projects.

Mayor Valli Geiger said she is proposing a six-month moratorium on marijuana production facilities in the city.

Geiger said she decided to propose the moratorium after learning that someone has taken out an application from the Code Enforcement Department to locate another medical marijuana production facility in the downtown section of Main Street.

The code office reported that the person who took out the application did not identify himself or the facility’s location, other than that it would be downtown. The application has not been submitted.

“That is three applications for Main Street. At this rate, all we will have is pot shops,” Geiger said. “We need to put the brakes on.”

The mayor said she thinks the applicants assume that their medical marijuana facilities will be precursors to recreational marijuana retail stores. But she stressed that the City Council has not given approval for those stores once they become legal.

Mark Crockett from Pen Bay Alternative Medicine Inc. of Benton has filed an application with the Code Enforcement Department to open a pot facility at 266 Main St. That is the building currently leased by Hill’s Seafood for its restaurant. His proposal will go before the Rockland Planning Board on Tuesday.

The impact that a moratorium would have on the first two proposed facilities is uncertain. The city attorney is expected to attend the City Council’s meeting Monday, when the issue will be formally raised.

The other medical marijuana production facility is proposed for the former First Baptist Church at 500 Main St. Nick Westervelt of Westervelt Provisions LLC received approval for his project at the May 17 meeting of the Rockland Planning Board.

He has yet to receive a permit from the City Council, and that issuance is caught in a Catch-22 situation. Current state law does not allow the police department to confirm that a marijuana processor has a state medical marijuana caregiver license and results of any state inspection. But the city ordinance requires police to have that information.

A new state law will take effect in the fall that allows police to access that information. Once that occurs, the council would have to amend its ordinance. As a result, the city is not likely to issue any permits in 2018.

The council will discuss the six-month moratorium at its meeting Monday. A vote would likely not occur until the regular monthly meeting Aug. 13.

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