The meeting went on for several hours Tuesday night as councilors debated the fine points of the marijuana ordinances. Emily Bader / Lakes Region Weekly

WINDHAM — The Town Council, after a lengthy discussion Tuesday, postponed for the second time a vote on licensing and land use ordinances for marijuana.

The four-hour meeting mostly consisted of a back-and-forth between councilors and the town attorney, Kristen Collins of Preti Flaherty law firm in Augusta, which specializes in helping municipal governments draft cannabis business ordinances. With the meeting dragging on, the council voted to continue discussions and public comment at its March 24 meeting.

Town Council Chairman Jarrod Maxfield said, however, that he sees the light at the end of the tunnel.

“It is detailed work and it is hard work. We’re creating something really out of nothing; it’s a new industry. It’s a slow and arduous process,” Maxfield said. “But we want to get it done right, not just because, but if (adult use marijuana) happens, we want to do it right.”

While Mainers voted to approve recreational, or adult use, marijuana in 2016, the law dictates that it is up to the individual municipalities to “opt in” to allow retail sales in their communities. Meanwhile, medical marijuana businesses have popped up throughout the state, including nine in Windham. Between the presence of these nine businesses and the fact that it is up to the town to draft their own ordinances, Windham has been caught up in the fine print for the better part of past year.

Much of the discussion Tuesday revolved around the licensing ordinance, which would decide the process by which the council will award medical and adult use businesses. As the ordinance is written, the nine businesses already operating in the town will be entitled to a medical license if they choose. The ordinance will also add two licenses for adult use retail stores.


That being said, Maxfield pointed out, the council has written the ordinance in such a way to pare down the number of licenses in the long run. The nine businesses will continue to be grandfathered in so long as they meet the requirements, but if any close down their business for any reason, only four of those licenses will be renewed. That means that if all nine businesses leave Windham, only four medical licenses will be available, plus the two recreational licenses.

Maxfield brought up the possibility of limiting the number of licenses one entity could apply for in the future — for example, one person could hold multiple licenses under different companies — out of concern that a small number of entities could create a monopoly in town, but other councilors disagreed.

What concerned councilors more was how exactly they would evaluate applications for licenses. Questions ranging from application late fees — or if they should even allow late applications — to the number of points an applicant should receive for already owning and operating marijuana businesses in Maine occupied the council for upwards of two hours.

Maggie Terry, president of Legal Leaf, a cannabis packaging and equipment company in Windham, told the council she wants to see a point category for resident applicants.

“I would like to see that those in town who have homes, who pay taxes here as residents, get a point for being as such. It would seem to me (that those people) should be rewarded,” she said.

She also brought up the idea that marijuana-related businesses, such as her own, should be given the same amount of points as those who own marijuana retail or cultivation businesses.


Dave Whitten, who owns the medical marijuana store Sticky Bud Farms in Windham, disagreed with Terry, saying that the type of property shouldn’t matter.

“I don’t think there should be extra points for whether you own a home or not because I pay taxes on two (business) properties,” he said.

The other major concern related to the land use ordinance, which dictates the distance from places like schools that a marijuana establishment can be located. State law only mentions school sites, recommending 1,000 feet from property line to property line, and no less than 500 feet. The first draft of Windham’s ordinance included schools, daycares, and correctional facilities.

The council decided to keep the 1,000 feet for schools, scrapped correctional facilities, and decided on 250 feet from door to door for daycare facilities. Since the ordinance involves land use, it now has to go back to the Planning Board for review and discussion before it can return to the council for public comment and vote.

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