STANDISH — Town councilors decided Nov. 20 to continue discussions about whether to allow facilities in town that grow marijuana for recreational use.

The Town Council banned retail marijuana establishments in town in January 2018, and Town Manager Bill Giroux said in an interview Monday that the council remains opposed to shops selling recreational marijuana in town.

Rather, he said, “People who want to do cultivation have approached councilors. That has resulted in some workshops by the council.”

During an unofficial 4-3 vote Wednesday, Councilors Sarah Gaba, Greg LeClerc, Steve Nesbitt and Michael Delcourt were in favor of discussing the possibility further. Council Chairman Brian Libby, Vice Chairwoman Kimberly Pomerleau and Councilor Joseph Paul were against it.

Town attorney Sally Daggett, of Jensen Baird Gardner & Henry in Portland, presented proposed amendments to town code that have been in the works for months and provide “for some adult-use marijuana cultivation facilities, but with some sort of limitations on the scale of those.”

If passed, the proposal would permit three of the five different types of cultivation facilities in the Industrial District: nurseries, which allow a maximum of 1,000 square feet of plant canopy; Tier 1, which allows 500 square feet of plant canopy; and Tier 2, which permits 2,000 square feet of plant canopy.

LeClerc said he would be in favor of allowing Tier 3, which allows 7,000 square feet of plant canopy, in the Industrial District as well. “Putting in place ordinances that would encourage actually using the land and potentially spur job creation would be a good thing,” he said.

Councilors discussed what size cultivation facility they would be willing to permit but did not come to a clear consensus. In addition, they considered which zones the facilities would be allowed.

The council also discussed reducing the mandated 1,000-foot distance from sensitive uses, including community centers and schools, to 400 feet. Daggett said the change would allow medical marijuana caregivers now registered on Northeast Road to coexist with a nearby daycare. All councilors seemed to be in favor of the reduced distance.

Standish has seven registered caregivers in town, although they are not allowed to operate storefronts.

The proposed amendments will next appear before the Town Council at its meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 10 for a first reading. The proposal will then be sent to the Planning Board, which will recommend a course of action to the council.

Giroux said it seemed likely the issue would be brought for a vote before the council, but added, “it’s such a close vote.”

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