AUGUSTA — City councilors will consider approving Augusta’s three first-ever medical marijuana retail store licenses Thursday.

But city officials say they know there must be more medical marijuana businesses in the city than the three businesses that have applied so far.

The city’s new medical marijuana rules require any medical marijuana businesses — including caregivers growing for anyone other than themselves — to obtain a license from the city.

So far, Development Director Matt Nazar said, the three license applicants up for approval Thursday are the only ones to seek permission from the city. And he’s sure there must be more medical marijuana businesses operating, or planning to operate, in the city than those three.

“All medical marijuana businesses in the city of Augusta, caregiver businesses, retail stores, testing facilities, any medical marijuana business in the city, is required to get a license, all of them,” Nazar told city councilors last week when briefing them on the upcoming licensing process. “We’ve only had three come in for licenses. And I’ve got to assume there are more. So I’d start by encouraging anybody who is a medical marijuana caregiver or business in the city to come in and talk to us and get licenses, because there are penalties in the ordinance if you don’t.”

The Medical Marijuana Business Licensing Ordinance states any medical marijuana business found to be operating without a valid city license shall be found to have committed a civil violation, with a fine starting at twice the applicable license fee, to increase by $10 for each day of the alleged violation.

There are multiple types of medical marijuana business license categories in the city, ranging from caregiver as a home occupation business, with a fee of $200, to medical marijuana caregiver retail store, with a fee of $1,400.

Under the city’s newly adopted rules, Nazar said anyone growing marijuana for medical purposes for anyone other than themselves is considered to be a medical marijuana business.

David Heidrich, director of Engagement and Community Outreach for the state Office of Marijuana Policy, said in May there were 17 caregivers in the city of Augusta licensed with the state, down from 28 who were licensed in the city in January.

Nazar said state medical marijuana regulations do not allow the general public or municipal officials to see the list of medical marijuana caregivers, so Augusta doesn’t have that list from which to work. He said the only situation in which state officials will provide information is when city officials identify someone they believe is a caregiver and have questions about their operation.

The three medical marijuana retail store operators seeking the council’s approval for their licenses Thursday have already, as per city licensing requirements, had their proposals approved by the Planning Board and vetted by the police and fire chiefs, code enforcement officer and health officer. The city also used an outside agency to do criminal background checks on each applicant for a retail store license.

City Attorney Stephen Langsdorf said councilors can’t just reject an application because they don’t agree with medical marijuana use.

“As a council, obviously, if there’s going to be a ‘no’ vote, it will have to be based on something other than anybody’s personal feelings about marijuana or those kinds of things,” he said. “It has to be based on a legitimate issue that’s been identified and in some way based on the factors that are set forth in the ordinance.”

The three medical marijuana retail store applicants are: Greenpoint Cannabis Co., 87 Western Ave.; Homegrown of Augusta New England Cannabis Consulting at 393 Western Ave.; and Cannamax at 102 Bangor St.

While recreational marijuana use, and growing for personal use, is now legal in Maine, Augusta officials elected not to allow any recreational marijuana sales in the city, only medical marijuana sales.

Councilors, who meet at 7 p.m. Thursday in council chambers at Augusta City Center, are also scheduled to:

• Recognize the Kennebec Valley Garden Club as a Spirit of America Award winner;

• Consider seeking proposals for the disposition of the former Cony Pride Building at 111 Cony St.;

• Consider a proposal to ask the state Department of Transportation to reduce the speed limit on Maple Street from 25 to 20 miles per hour and;

• Consider updating the city’s towing regulations, to allow for increased rates on tows involving vehicles referred through city workers.

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