CHINA: Medical marijuana plan presented to planners; can’t rule yet

by Mary Grow

Clifford Glinko gave his well-prepared presentation on his proposed medical marijuana facility on Route 3, in South China, at a July 9 public hearing – to no audience, and without enough detail to satisfy the China Planning Board, which can’t rule yet anyway.

Glinko has applied for a marijuana growing facility with a retail storefront for marijuana patients in the Route 3 building that has housed Mabel Charles’ used book store and Maine-ly Trains, among other past businesses. He was initially scheduled to present the application at a June 11 meeting, but was not notified. In his absence, board members scheduled the public hearing.

Three neighbors of the project attended the June 11 meeting. Glinko said he talked with them before his July 9 presentation.

Another development between the two meetings was Planning Board Chairman Tom Miragliuolo familiarizing himself with the new state law’s “opt in” provision. According to information from the Maine Municipal Association, municipalities must vote to allow medical marijuana operations before any can be approved. Those in operation before December 13, 2018, are grandfathered, so Nathan White’s business farther west on Route 3 is not affected.

Glinko brought to the July 9 hearing a slide presentation in which he explained why a medical marijuana facility would be a good neighbor – odor controls, normal business hours, not much traffic, extensive security – and described his family and his interests. His wife Tracey is a dentist who heads Kennebec Valley Dental Arts, in Fairfield.

Glinko said he does not use marijuana himself, but became interested in medical marijuana after hearing some of the dental patients, including one who was on chemotherapy, describe it as “better than opiates.”

Miragliuolo asked for more specific details about proposed business operations. Glinko referred the question to his consultant, Jared Jandreau, who prepared the application with guidance from former codes officer Paul Mitnik.

After a discussion of the many definitions in state law, whether the facility would be closer to Grace Academy than the law distancing marijuana operations from schools allows, different odor control methods and related topics, board members remained in need of more information.

Glinko and Miragliuolo agreed an “opt-in” town vote is a preliminary necessity. If China voters allow medical marijuana businesses, Glinko can present a more detailed application, Miragliuolo said. New Codes Officer William Butler offered suggestions for revisions.

The July 9 meeting was the first in China for Butler, a former Maine Department of Environmental Protection staffer and codes officer elsewhere in Maine. Butler said he applied for the job after Mitnik, a former DEP colleague, told him he did not want the full-time position China officials decided they need.

“Paul was incredibly efficient,” Butler commented, keeping up on things during his two days a week.

The next China Planning Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening, July 23.


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