RICHMOND — The Legislature has sent to Gov. Paul LePage a bill that would allow cities and towns to keep registered caregivers who grow marijuana a minimum distance from schools for the next year.

The bill emerged late in this year’s legislative session when concern flared up in Richmond over plans to open a medical marijuana caregiver grow facility in vacant space in an industrial building on Main Street. The building is at the edge of the village district, but it’s also about 240 feet away from Richmond Middle/High School.

The town “had no authority regarding the permitting of a multi-unit caregiver facility,” said Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham. And that frustrated town elected officials.

“I cannot believe that even the state of Maine, in their brilliance, would allow marijuana growing within 500 feet of a school,” David Thompson, then vice chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said at the board’s meeting at the end of May.

Selectman Ryan Chandler said that by not imposing limits on where caregivers can be located, the state has tied the hands of town officials.

150 Main LLC submitted plans to convert 30,000 square feet of vacant space into a secure medical marijuana grow facility. Jay Davis, of 150 Main LLC, declined to be interviewed Thursday.

Because the Richmond Planning Board already has approved the application – it had no grounds to block the grow operation because it met the ordinance requirements – the legislation wouldn’t affect its decision if signed into law.

Catherine Lewis, president and chairwoman of the board for Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, said most caregivers in Maine operate mom-and-pop-type businesses and grow marijuana independently or at their own homes. Regardless of where they are growing pot, they are required to have secure, locked and closed facilities, she said.

The legislation sent to LePage would authorize local control for a year. By next July, state lawmakers hope to have a broader set of rules regulating recreational marijuana and adjusting the rules on medical marijuana.