WINDHAM — The town awarded its first ever recreational marijuana licenses to two businesses Tuesday night.

Paul’s Boutique Nursery on Crimson Drive and CannaRx on Danielle Drive, both off Roosevelt Trail, can open a recreational marijuana store once their state and local licenses are confirmed. Recreational marijuana sales in Maine can begin Oct. 9.

There were seven applicants for two available recreational licenses. The nine existing medical marijuana stores are grandfathered into the marijuana ordinances for a total of 11 pot stores in Windham.

The Town Council passed the licensing and land use ordinances for marijuana stores at the end of May after a year of debate, delays and a council resignation.

Councilor Clayton Haskell, an outspoken critic of retail marijuana, announced at the top of Tuesday’s meeting that he was abstaining from the vote.

“I’m going to defer from this meeting tonight because of a whole bunch of reasons: moral reasons, hypocritical reasons and so forth. I voted against this from the get go. I don’t think it’s right for me to take part in this,” Haskell said before signing off from the virtual meeting.

In February, then-Councilor Rebecca Cummings abruptly resigned, saying she could not be part of a council that approved a recreational marijuana ordinance.

The nearly two-hour review Tuesday hit a few roadblocks as councilors worked to define aspects of their own ordinance on the fly and confirm information with applicants and town attorney Kristen Collins.

Each application was reviewed on a point system and the licenses were awarded to the two businesses with the highest scores.

In one category, the council could award a point to applicants who currently operate or previously operated a “retail marijuana business” in Maine, outside of Windham.

The ordinance defines “marijuana business,” but not “retail,” forcing councilors to stop midway to decide on a definition.

Because of this mid-meeting debate, the councilors awarded the licenses on a provisional basis to give them time to confirm information with the two licensees.

“To the two vendors that get selected tonight, this probably goes without saying, everything that you submitted in your application, we’re going to hold you to it,” said Councilor Tim Nangle, who consistently gave the lowest scores among the six councilors.

In order to open a recreational pot store in Maine, businesses must first obtain a conditional license from the state’s Office of Marijuana Policy, then receive a license from their municipality. After receiving local authorization, businesses return to the OMP for confirmation of their active license.

Paul’s Boutique has conditional licenses from the state for a retail store and for its cultivation and manufacturing facilities in Windham.

Paul’s Boutique is owned by Charles Shaw Dwight and Julia Ann Glen Dwight of Casco, according to state records.

CannaRx, which is listed as Windham RSL in state records, has a pending conditional license, which means that the OMP has received their application and begun review.

CannaRx is owned by Garrin Brady of Windham.

“Personally, I would give licenses to all the applicants … I don’t feel this is the right way of going about it, but that’s my personal opinion,” Councilor Brett Jones said at the close of the meeting.

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