Is a Marijuana Moratorium the Same Thing as a Ban?


No.


Maine Marijuana Lawyer

You have surely seen that a lot of towns around Maine are placing moratoria on recreational marijuana businesses. (Grammar lesson for the day: moratoria is the plural of moratorium. I’m a grammar geek as well as a lawyer).

This has people worried that these towns have, or plan to, outright ban recreational marijuana businesses. That fear is unfounded.

A moratorium is simply a pause on moving forward. It keeps rec businesses from opening in a town for a certain time period. In most towns that is six months or 180 days.

A moratorium is simply a pause on moving forward.

Towns have legitimate concerns about how they will zone for rec businesses, how their ordinances need to change, and how they will monitor compliance. They want time to put well-considered laws in place. Hence, they are enacting moratoria.

I have found only one town where the moratorium affects medical marijuana businesses along with rec businesses: Gray. Gray’s moratorium disallows any new medical marijuana cultivation facilities or expansions of existing facilities until March 20, 2017.

A ban, unlike a moratorium, would disallow rec businesses. Few, if any, towns have come out with outright bans. Some may. Most probably won’t.

A ban would disallow rec businesses.

Few, if any, towns have come out with outright bans. Some may. Most probably won't.

The moratoria are not bad. They are probably not necessary because the state’s rules and regulations almost certainly will not be ready before the moratoria are lifted, though the towns can extend them. But, they serve a useful purpose in letting the towns take a breather in deciding how best to implement this new, and frankly, experimental law.

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