Phippsburg voters will choose whether to allow recreational marijuana retail, manufacturing, testing and cultivation establishments at the annual town meeting on June 12.

Although Mainers voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016, the state requires each municipality to opt-in by drafting and approving their own regulations for recreational marijuana use and business.

“There was no big push from the public to opt in, but as time went on, it seemed more people were wondering why we couldn’t do that,” Planning Board Chair Marie Varian said. “I don’t know what people’s attitudes are. The planning board is neutral and we tried to come up with ordinances that would allow what the state allows.”

According to Phippsburg’s proposed retail ordinances, recreational and medical marijuana stores would be required to be licensed by the state and town and install security measures, including 24-hour surveillance and intruder alarms. In addition, passers-by shouldn’t be able to smell marijuana from outside the building.

The rules also set a 1,000-foot buffer around schools, daycare centers and libraries.

Varian said the town didn’t propose limitations on where businesses could open because “we don’t have commercial, residential, or historical areas, so a store can go anywhere someone has a piece of land they want to put a store on.”

There’s also no proposed cap on how many marijuana businesses can open within the town.

Town Administrator Amber Jones said the town hasn’t received any applications for marijuana businesses, “but the planning board felt that they didn’t want to prevent a source of income for anyone.”

“The code enforcement officer has had some people mention interest in marijuana cultivation, but no one is banging down his door,” said Jones.

There are no existing marijuana businesses in Phippsburg.

Phippsburg Police Chief John Skroski said he wouldn’t be concerned about policing any marijuana business that comes to town if voters choose to allow them.

“The people of Maine have spoken and legalized marijuana for recreational and medical use and it’s my duty to treat those businesses like any other establishment in town,” Skroski said.

Phippsburg’s proposed rules also state marijuana and marijuana products can be consumed on private property only. It cannot be consumed in public, in a car, or at a residence that’s used as a day care facility.

Varian said much of the town’s proposed rules mirrors what the state allows. For example, Phippsburg’s proposed rules would also allow anyone ages 21 and older to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana or up to five grams of marijuana concentrate. People can also possess or grow up to three mature cannabis plants or up to 12 immature plants and unlimited seedlings for personal use, falling in line with state law. However, those plants must sit 20 feet back from property lines can cannot be visible from a public road.

If Phippsburg voters agree to allow all kinds of medical and recreational marijuana enterprises, it will join neighboring Bath, Brunswick, Woolwich and Bowdoinham, which permit any recreational cannabis businesses. In Topsham and Georgetown, recreational marijuana growing, manufacturing and testing are permitted, but retail stores aren’t allowed.

Bath’s first recreational marijuana store, Highbrow, opened on Route 1 last month, and other, Port City Relief, is on its way to opening just down the road.

Meanwhile, Woolwich selectmen voted to grant their first local recreational retail license last month to an existing medical marijuana store, Farley’s Cannabis Farm, also on Route 1.

Phippsburg’s annual town meeting will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 12 outside the Phippsburg Elementary School.


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