GEORGETOWN — Georgetown residents voted to approve an ordinance allowing recreational marijuana manufacturing, testing and cultivation facilities during Sunday’s annual town meeting. However, recreational marijuana retail sales will have to wait.

The vote was cast by a show of hands, according to Select Board Chairperson Rich Donaldson.

The new ordinance allows recreational marijuana manufacturing, testing and cultivation facilities to open anywhere in Georgetown, but any facility must be at least 1,000 feet away from Georgetown Central School.

The approved ordinance was written after Georgetown residents approved recreational marijuana manufacturing, testing and cultivation facilities at last year’s town meeting, but the town didn’t have an ordinance for it yet.

Residents approved the ordinance without public debate on Sunday, which surprised Donaldson.

“I thought there would be some public comment, but it was probably the calmest town meeting I’ve ever been to,” he said.


Recreational marijuana retail sales aren’t allowed yet, which Donaldson said is because “folks didn’t want neon marijuana leaf signs in town.”

“It was a little too much too fast,” he said. Recreational marijuana “is available now in Woolwich and in Bath, so there are marijuana stores 10 miles from Georgetown if people want.”

Nearby Brunswick, Bath and Woolwich have all approved recreational marijuana sales, but it will still be another two months before the state allows recreational marijuana  sales, the Portland Press Herald reported. The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy will announce its first round of fully licensed testing labs, cultivation facilities, manufacturing plants and retail stores on Sept. 8. Those businesses will be allowed to open Oct. 9.

Lisa Donaldson, a member of the committee that drafted the marijuana ordinance, said she doesn’t expect any testing facilities to open in Georgetown because of the costs associated with opening one.

Rich Donaldson said he was in favor of the ordinance because it could bring jobs to Georgetown in the future if a marijuana facility opens. He said he didn’t know if applications for recreational marijuana facilities have been submitted.



Georgetown residents also approved the new $5.2 million municipal budget and $2.5 million school budget for the fiscal year 2020-2021.

The increase will lead to a 4% property tax increase, but it’s unknown how that will impact the mil rate, as that will be set later in the year, according to Rich Donaldson.

One major driver in the town’s $515,562 — or 10.9% — budget increase is the Georgetown volunteer fire department, which requested a $81,571 boost from taxpayers.

Jane Clukey, Georgetown fire department treasurer, said the department used to fund its operating costs through donations and fundraisers, but that model “isn’t sustainable now,” leading it to turn to taxpayers for help.

“Everything from fueling the truck to medical supplies were funded by donations and fundraisers,” said Clukey. “Many capital improvements were delayed because of this, so now we’re at a point where the old model of funding wasn’t sustainable.”

For example, the department has old models of defibrillators that aren’t serviced anymore by the company, meaning if they need to be fixed, the department will be forced to purchase new ones, which typically cost about $40,000.


“That’s a huge cost that we could, at the drop of a hat, need to pay, and that cannot be delayed in any way, shape or form,” said Clukey. “We need to be up to state and federal standards, regardless of the size of our town. Whether a fire department is in Portland or Georgetown, it needs to have the same, up-to-date equipment.”

Clukey said the coronavirus pandemic also affected the department’s donation flow. For example, the department usually hosts an auction each summer that is a major fundraising source, but that had to be moved online this year. Clukey couldn’t provide exact numbers, but said the online auction brought in significantly fewer donations.

“People have been as generous as they can be, but these are uncertain times,” said Clukey. “We want to make sure that our ability to respond to someone day or night isn’t impacted by peoples’ ability to give now.”

Other municipal budget increases include a $79,650 increase to road maintenance and a $35,415 increase in snow removal budgets, according to budget documents.

Georgetown Central School Board Member Kelly James said the major driver in the school’s $136,000 budget increase was split between two major needs: facilities and tuition.

The school board decided to approve some improvements to the building that have been delayed for several years because the school budget this year was low compared to past years, said James.


The improvements, totaling $56,000, include replacing the gym floor, redoing the water filtration system, replacing exterior speakers and alarms and enhancing landscaping to prepare for students to use outdoor classrooms when possible due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The school also needed a $50,105 increase to tuition, which James credited to last year’s large eight grade class advancing to high school.

The school also hired a new pre-k teacher, causing a $20,000 salary increase.

“We hadn’t anticipated needing that new teacher because we were going to have a combined pre-k and kindergarten class, but they’re separate this year,” said James.

The town’s Sagadahoc County tax payment will also rise 1.4% to $885,682.

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