HALLOWELL — The council discussed ordinance language that creates zoning, permitting and licensing standards for the legal cultivation, manufacturing, testing and retail sale of cannabis for adult use, including cannabis social clubs, during its meeting Monday.

City Manager Nate Rudy said he has received emails and comments from the public expressing their concerns, and Rudy said he’s making note of all of them. There was a public hearing at the beginning of the meeting, but nobody from the public spoke about the issue.

“We will continue to work on receiving comment and dialing-in language specifically on zoning to clarify the retail sales use and social club use (of recreational marijuana),” Rudy said.

The council will hold a third reading of the amended ordinances, but Rudy said that won’t happen until the state legislature officially legalizes adult-use cannabis. He said there will be a public meeting in Hallowell before the third reading, too.

“We want to provide guidance to those in the industry who want to make investments in Hallowell, but we don’t want to get ahead of the legislation,” Rudy said.

Adult-use marijuana was approved by citizen referendum in November 2016, but the state legislature has yet to make rules and regulations that would govern its manufacturing, sales and usage.

In Hallowell, the measure to legalize recreational marijuana was supported in the referendum by 873 voters and opposed by 755, with 31 blank ballots. The Council approved a second 180-day moratorium on recreational marijuana establishments, retail stores and social clubs in September, giving the city the time to make changes to its zoning ordinances before the Legislature finalizes rules governing recreational marijuana.

In other business, resident and business owner Larry Davis proposed creating some sort of economic development fund to aid downtown businesses during the Water Street reconstruction. He said many businesses in the historic downtown are nervous and anxious about what the construction period — scheduled from April to October — might do for their business.

“There should be money somewhere to help these people,” Davis said.

Mayor Mark Walker said the council has talked about potential funding sources and said it doesn’t have to be a lot of money.

“A relatively small amount might be enough,” Walker said. “There are some (businesses) that are very discouraged.”

Code Enforcement Officer Doug Ide updated the council on continuing issues at three distressed properties and evolving concerns at a property on Water Street.

The council also discussed adding language regarding driveway and demolition permits, removing language involving code enforcement fees from city ordinances and making them a policy.

Earlier in the meeting, the Down With the Crown committee, which is working on creative ways to bring people to Hallowell during the road reconstruction, invited the mayor and council to take part in a “celebrity” art show, with proceeds to benefit the committee’s community outreach efforts.

Deb Fahy, the chairwoman of the Hallowell Arts and Cultural Committee, said there would be a silent auction where people can bid on works submitted by the council and other local Hallowell “celebrities.”

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ

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