The town of Falmouth is still deciding whether to allow recreational marijuana businesses to locate in town three years after a statewide referendum legalized adult use. File / Gregory Rec

FALMOUTH — After years of uncertainty, the state has finally created new rules around the growth, sale, processing and testing of adult-use recreational marijuana.

Now the Town Council must decide if it wants to allow any business associated with the recreational marijuana trade to locate in Falmouth and, if so, where they will be allowed to operate.

The council’s Retail Marijuana Committee met last week for the first time since spring, but Assistant Town Manager Amy Lamontagne said no decisions were reached. The three councilors who make up the committee plan to meet again in November in an attempt to craft possible recommendations for consideration by the full council.

So far, according to a story published in the Portland Press Herald in July, more than a dozen municipalities have chosen to “opt-in” when it comes to adult-use marijuana. Those communities include South Portland and other large cities such as Waterville and Bangor. Several small towns, including Bowdoinham and Eustis, are also allowing adult-use marijuana businesses.

Others have chosen to allow more conditional access, including the town of Topsham.

After Maine residents voted to legalize recreational marijuana in a 2016 referendum, Falmouth began struggling with whether to allow any non-medical marijuana uses in town. It set up an ad hoc committee to discuss the various issues, including public safety, preventing underage use and possible tax revenue opportunities.

The council eventually decided to enact a moratorium, which has since lapsed.

Some councilors also initially had an interest in allowing grow operations to locate in Falmouth, but the discussion never gained traction.

Lamontagne said this week that the Retail Marijuana Committee, which includes Councilors Hope Cahan, Janice De Lima and Tommy Johnson, recognize they must provide some direction and “decide where we’re going,” but right now there’s little consensus.

This past spring several councilors said they wanted to become proactive instead of reactive, but others, including former Councilor Aaron Svedlow argued that town leaders needed to hear from the public before any real decisions could be made.

So far, no public forum on the issue of adult-use marijuana has been scheduled.

This past summer, David Heidrich, spokesman for the state’s Office of Marijuana Policy, said retail marijuana sales could start happening in Maine by early 2020 and the number of municipalities opting in is likely to increase.

Lamontagne said that three years ago a number of recreational marijuana entrepreneurs expressed an interest in Falmouth, but as far as she’s aware there have been no recent inquiries.

The biggest concern for Town Manager Nathan Poore, he said this spring, is that while recreational marijuana use is now legal in Maine, it’s still illegal under federal law, which could leave Falmouth open to prosecution or various liability lawsuits.

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