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Saco Board Supports Medical Marijuana Ordinance

Tuesday night the Saco planning board voted in support of a proposed ordinance that would require marijuana caregivers who grow outside their residences to operate within one of the city’s industrial zones.

That was a relief for Darrell Gudroe, board director of Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, who initially thought the ordinance sought to restrict caregivers who grow in their homes.

“We’re in favor of regulation, we’re just not in favor of overregulation,” he says.

Saco city administrator Kevin Sutherland says many growing facilities have a lot of cash on hand, and that can be a public safety concern.

“So my goal is to make sure that where they’re located, they’re under lock and key. They’re under proper security, and it makes it easier for police to patrol,” he says.

Gudroe says he’s concerned about whether there’s enough space in the designated zone to support demand, and whether landlords will increase rent if they have a corner on the caregiver market.

Justin Chamberlain, a caregiver in Saco, says he’s also concerned that could cause rent to surge.

“It’s almost like the Portland rent crisis that’s going on. Essentially, you’re going to push everyone into this one location, everyone who owns those buildings in those locations knows that people are going to have to pay a premium to get those spots,” he says.

The Saco City Council will consider the proposed ordinance at its Aug. 15 meeting.