ME: Richmond Public Hearing Set On Temporary Ban On Pot Shops, Social Clubs

Katelyn Baker

Well-Known Member
The Richmond Planning Board will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday on a proposal to put in place a temporary ban on marijuana retail shops and social clubs in this northern Sagadahoc County town.

Following a statewide vote in November, Maine residents narrowly approved legalizing growing and possession of specific amounts of marijuana. Ballot Question 1, a citizens initiative, also made provisions for retail outlets where marijuana could be sold and social clubs where it could be consumed as well as cultivation.

Shops and social clubs are new entities under the law – these are distinct from any medical marijuana facilities – and they are not included in municipal land-use and zoning regulations. A moratorium allows city and town officials to consider whether and how those establishments would be regulated. They could also be banned outright.

The Board of Selectmen has set a special town meeting for 6 p.m. on Jan.18 at Marcia Buker Elementary School on High Street to vote on the moratorium and several other routine items, including a special amusement permit ordinance and setting up some reserve accounts.

Richmond Town Manager Janet Smith said the process gives town officials time to figure out what the town wants to do.

Voters in Richmond narrowly favored the ballot initiative in November.

Eight of 10 Sagadahoc County communities voted to legalize pot, and Richmond is among them, voting 1,016 to 902. Only residents in Woolwich and Bowdoin voted it down.

By contrast, only two cities in Kennebec County, Waterville and Hallowell, favored legalization. The other 27 communities voted it down.

Smith and Richmond selectmen have acknowledged that while residents favor legalizing marijuana, they don't know whether that means they favor selling it at shops in Richmond or whether a social club would be welcome.

Kristen Muszynski, spokeswoman for the Maine Secretary of State's Office, said the vote was certified on Wednesday. From there, the results go to the Office of the Governor, which must issue a proclamation of the vote within 10 days. The measure becomes law 30 days after that.

It will take considerably more time, perhaps up to nine months, for the state's Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to develop rules around retail sales.

Even so, municipal officials have the option of imposing stricter regulations or banning retail sales and social clubs outright.

Opponents of legalized marijuana dropped their requested recount effort Dec. 17, nearly two weeks after it started, acknowledging that both the vote count and the result were accurate.


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Full Article: ME: Richmond Public Hearing Set On Temporary Ban On Pot Shops, Social Clubs
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