RICHMOND

Although far from unanimous, Richmond voters on Wednesday agreed to enact a recreational marijuana moratorium ordinance.

Despite the snow, 52 voters attended the special town meeting, which is 2 percent of the total number of registered voters in Richmond.

The moratorium applies to retail marijuana establishments and retail marijuana social clubs, legalized under a statewide referendum in November. It allows the town to work on developing local regulations in response to the new law.

The town’s land use ordinance has no provisions related to retail marijuana establishments or social clubs.

The moratorium ordinance states, in part, that unregulated location of these establishments in Richmond “raises legitimate and substantial questions about the impact of such establishments and social clubs in the town,” including questions of their compatibility with current uses and development in town.

Selectmen Chairman O’Neil Laplante said the town body declined to vote on the marijuana moratorium by secret ballot. The show of voting cards resulted in an approximately 10-vote margin in favor of the moratorium.

Laplante said the moratorium will be in place for six months, after which selectmen may extend it for an additional six months. “Right now, I’m not sure that’s going to be enough,” he said Thursday.

While the moratorium is in place, the town will be looking to develop regulations that align with Maine law. The Marijuana Legalization Act allows the state nine months to develop a framework to implement the law. However, there is a bill before the Legislature which would delay implementation of portions of the law until Feb. 1, 2018.

“It’s a matter of frustration,” Laplante said. “We’ll just have to work it out.”

Other warrant articles

Also Wednesday, voters approved a special amusement permit ordinance and the creation of reserve funds for Peacock Beach, the cable TV franchise revenue, and the purchase and financing of town vehicles.

Laplante said there was some discussion centered around creating a reserve fund for the purchase of town vehicles. A number of years ago, town meeting voters allowed selectmen to spend funds from a reserve account without voter approval, given that residents had given the OK to raise the money.

Wednesday night, however, Laplante said voters amended the measure so that money spent from a reserve account for a vehicle be approved at town meeting.

[email protected]timesrecord.com



Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: