PORTLAND, Maine — After more than an hour of discussion, Portland city councilors voted unanimously Wednesday evening to uphold zoning criteria for medical and retail marijuana businesses in the city.
Once the state and city finalize decisions surrounding pot, businesses will be able to open their doors in multiple parts of Portland -- including downtown and the St. John and Valley Street area.
The only restrictions? The business' building must be at least 300 feet away from a residential property line and under two-thousand square feet.
City councilors also voted Wednesday to allow the shops to sell other items, like products containing CBD -- even food or drink. In addition, they decided to remove the language that would have made it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 years old to enter the store.
Those looking to expand their business say eventually having the freedom to sell cannabis alongside other products is a complete game changer.
"If you look at any of the restaurants in the industry in Maine, they all survive by being creative, so they need a diverse revenue stream," said Tessa Storey, General Manager of Higher Grounds, a local coffee shop that hopes to eventually sell cannabis-based products. "We cannot survive on having just one product. And we can't survive on only having coffee, on only having tea -- we also cannot survive on only having cannabis."
Zoning is really just one of the first steps the city needs to tackle in order for businesses to come to town. City officials still have to establish an adult use and licensing permit process. That could happen as soon as this Spring.