MANCHESTER — The Planning Board meets Tuesday to discuss a proposed zoning ordinance to regulate recreational marijuana retail sales and growing operations, on the same night the board is also scheduled to discuss a proposal to create a retail medical marijuana storefront on Western Avenue.

Currently the town has no rules within its zoning that directly regulate marijuana-related businesses, as marijuana use was only recently made legal under Maine law, with recreational marijuana use by adults legalized in a statewide referendum question last year.

Planning Board members, at their 6:30 p.m. Tuesday meeting at the Manchester Town Office, are scheduled to discuss a zoning ordinance to regulate marijuana retail sales and growing facilities, an ordinance which could be presented to residents at the annual Town Meeting, which is in June, according to Keegan Ballard, code enforcement officer.

Also on Tuesday’s agenda is a preliminary discussion regarding an inquiry from a local business owner about splitting his existing building at 884 Western Ave., which is currently Lady’s Auto, into two businesses. One half the building would remain as Lady’s, while the other half would be a storefront for a caregiver who would sell medical marijuana.

Application materials filed with the town indicate the medical marijuana storefront would be called “Elevation” and the applicant for the business is Josh Atwood, of North Anson, while the property owner is Ron Goodheart.

Ballard said Goodheart is making a preliminary inquiry whether such a retail operation would be acceptable at that location, and whether the building could house the two different businesses.

Ballard said he’s not sure how a retail medical marijuana caregiver storefront would be categorized under the town’s zoning ordinance, which was written when all marijuana sales and use was illegal in Maine.

Unlike some other area municipalities, including Augusta, Gardiner, and Richmond, Manchester did not enact a moratorium on recreational marijuana businesses following the passage of the state referendum legalizing marijuana.

“We do not have a moratorium,” Ballard said. “At this point nothing is in place but there is an ordinance in the works.”

Last month Manchester Selectmen, after meeting with state legislators, declined to adopt an ordinance that would regulate marijuana social clubs. They decided instead, according to the minutes from selectmen’s Feb. 14 meeting, to wait to see what the state Legislature will adopt for rules and revisit the issue in 2018.

In late January, Gov. Paul LePage signed a bill delaying retail marijuana sales in Maine until February 2018, to give officials more time to implement rules governing the industry.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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