CLINTON — The Board of Selectmen will meet Tuesday night and potentially enact an emergency moratorium on retail marijuana establishments.

The board is slated to have a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. in the Selectmen’s Room of the town office and may take a vote afterward or postpone action until later.

Clinton Town Manager Pamela Violette said the purpose of the hearing was for the selectmen to get input from the public, and such a meeting is required by the town charter.

“We really need a moratorium in place to allow the Planning Board to have time to review the law and what it would mean to the town of Clinton,” Violette said.

Included in the town charter is a section on emergency ordinances, which states the selectmen may enact “one or more emergency ordinances, but such ordinances may not levy taxes, gent, renew or extend a franchise, or authorize the borrowing of money” except as provided in the charter. An emergency ordinance may adopted with or without an amendment or rejected in the meeting it is introduced in, and requires the support of at least four selectmen to pass.

Violette said if adopted, the moratorium would stand for 60 days unless extended or repealed by selectmen. She said this allows the Planning Board to have time to review and prepare changes to land use ordinances for residents to vote on at town meeting in June.

Selectmen could vote on the moratorium, or they could carry the vote over to their next meeting on Jan. 24.

The Planning Board had originally proposed a moratorium on both recreational and medicinal marijuana operations. However, the selectmen did not approve the proposal, because they didn’t want to regulate medical marijuana. The current version of the emergency moratorium is only for retail marijuana stores, establishments and social clubs.

On Nov. 8, voters in Maine approved Question 1 by about 4,000 votes, which legalized the use of recreational marijuana and allowed municipalities to regulate marijuana businesses. It allows adults age 21 and older to possess as much as 2.5 ounces of marijuana, allows them to grow their own plants and purchase marijuana from licensed retailers and puts a 10 percent sales tax on marijuana sales. A recount of Question 1 votes began in early December, but was dropped a few weeks later.

Clinton is not the only town in Maine or the region to explore moratoriums. Augusta recently approved a six-month moratorium on recreational marijuana, and the residents of Farmington voted to approve a similar moratorium. The towns of Gardiner, Winslow and Norridgewock have all held discussions on moratoriums. Additionally, the town of Oakland recently voted to ban retail marijuana sites. The town of Madison was slated to hold a vote to impose a 180-day moratorium, and the Skowhegan Planning Board is working on drafting an ordinance to ban marijuana businesses in town.

Portland enacted a six-month moratorium weeks after Election Day.Westbrook enacted a 180-day moratorium prior to the election. About two dozen towns in total have enacted some form of moratorium.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis


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