GORHAM — The Town Council has adopted a marijuana cultivation/manufacturing ordinance that regulates where operations can be located and sets an annual fee schedule.

According to Town Manager Ephrem Paraschak,  the ordinance goes into effect 30 days from July 7, with fees ranging from $1,000 up to $5,000 a year, depending on the size of the operation. The ordinance also stipulates that law enforcement and code enforcement officers can conduct inspections at any reasonable time to ensure compliance with license requirements. Owners and employees must also submit to finger printing and a background check.

Paraschak said the ordinance does not allow for retail sales for adult use of marijuana and does not apply to home cultivation of marijuana for personal use.

The board passed the measure by a vote of 6-1 Tuesday, with Lee Pratt opposed.

The local law limits marijuana cultivation and manufacturing facilities to the industrial, rural and Olde Canal zoning districts. Town Councilor Ben Hartwell, who opposes retail sales in town, said it would be grown somewhere and Gorham would benefit from the tax dollars.

Hartwell also felt old dairy barns in Gorham could be converted to cultivating marijuana, generating revenue for property owners.

The ordinance prohibits marijuana facilities within 750 feet of private or public schools. A 1,000-foot setback from the property line of another grower had been proposed, but was dropped after the council received pushback from cultivators.

Leonard Sharon, an Auburn attorney who represents Lodestar Cannabis at 36 Bartlett Road in Gorham, called in to the meeting to question the validity and fairness of the 1,000-foot requirement between growers.

In an email to the town from Lodestar Cannabis, Doug Knickrehm wrote, “I find this regulation to be onerous, arbitrary, and unnecessary.”

The Town Council amended the order by dropping the requirement.

“I didn’t see a need for it,” Town Council Vice Chairman Ronald Shepard said.

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