Ludlow to vote June 13 on marijuana ordinance

7 years ago

LUDLOW, Maine — Residents will be asked at the polls next week if they wish to adopt a new town ordinance prohibiting retail marijuana businesses and social clubs. 

The special referendum, scheduled for Tuesday, June 13, will allow voters to weigh in on an ordinance designed to prohibit all retail recreational marijuana establishments as defined by the state. This would include stores, cultivation and manufacturing facilities, as well as, marijuana social clubs, according to Town Manager Diane Hines.

Hines said, both the town’s Board of Selectmen and planning board had reviewed the ordinance and agreed to put it to the voters.

Even though a statewide, citizen-led referendum made recreational marijuana legal last year, no related businesses can officially open at least until February 2018 while the state develops rules to implement the law. Possessing and growing marijuana for recreational use now is legal, but buying or selling it is not until the new regulations are implemented.

The town’s ordinance is nearly identical to neighboring New Limerick, where residents also will be voting on the issue. A ‘“no” vote means the voter is in favor of allowing marijuana stores, clubs and cultivation, while a “yes” means the voter wants them prohibited, Hines explained.

The ordinance does not have any impact on medical marijuana establishments. In addition, nothing in the ordinance prohibits possession or any lawful use of marijuana.

The towns of Linneus and Littleton also both have adopted ordinances to ban retail marijuana businesses within their town limits. In November 2016, when Maine voted to legalize marijuana, Ludlow residents voted against the measure: 85 to 147.

Hines said Ludlow selectmen decided an ordinance was needed after they were approached with a business proposition.

“We were approached at a March 8 selectmen’s meeting by two individuals who wanted to open a retail marijuana store,” Hines said. “The board, at that time, said they needed to petition the board, which they did in April.”

Hines stated the individuals expressed a willingness to donate a portion of the business’ proceeds to the town. The Maine Municipal Association, however, informed Hines that the town could not legally require or even voluntarily have an agreement with a store owner to pay a percentage of profits to the town.

Any businesses could make a donation to the town, if they so desired, but no formal agreement can be in place to require a donation.