A little more than a year after it started meeting, Gardiner’s Recreational Marijuana Task Force has drafted recommendations that retail sales and cultivation, manufacturing and testing be allowed in the city if they’re subject to regulations.

The task force has also recommended that marijuana social clubs not be allowed in Gardiner.

The Gardiner City Council will consider accepting the report when it meets Wednesday, and it might consider extending the current moratorium on allowing recreational pot-related enterprises to open in Gardiner for six more months.

“The current moratorium we have in place ends May 5,” interim City Manager Anne Davis said.

The council created the task force in January 2017, two months after Maine voters legalized recreational marijuana. In addition to allowing residents older than 21 to grow and possess limited amounts of pot, the citizen’s initiative that passed by a narrow margin also allowed social clubs, retail operations and commercial enterprises such as cultivation and testing facilities to operate under a state license.

In a 1,464-1,605 vote, Gardiner residents lined up with most other communities in Kennebec County in voting against the proposal. Even so, enough voters across Maine sided with legalizing marijuana that ballot question passed by a narrow margin, and a challenge to the result was abandoned.

The council chose District 1 Councilor Terry Berry to be a nonvoting chairman and named six city residents to the task force — three in favor of legalized marijuana and three against. Gardiner police Chief James Toman, Code Enforcement Officer Barb Skelton and interim City Manager Anne Davis served as ex-officio members.

“Everyone was extremely respectful of ideas, and we seemed to come to a consensus,” Berry said Tuesday.

As the Gardiner task force deliberated on what it would recommend, Berry said its work was slowed by inaction by state lawmakers on setting up statewide regulations on pot-related commercial enterprises.

The Legislature has been working on its proposal to launch the recreational pot market, but in the meantime, cities and towns have been weighing their options, putting in place temporary bans so that local regulatory options can be explored.

City elected officials on Wednesday also are expected to hold a budget hearing on Gardiner police and fire-and-ambulance requests, to discuss the bid process for the Iron Mine Hill Trailer Park and also consider:

• accepting bids for the tax-acquired properties at 14 Plummer St. and 494 Water St.;

• accepting a bid to purchase 28 Spring St.; and

• approving a liquor license for a catered function, The Great Race.

The council is expected to hold an executive session to discuss a real estate matter and vote in open session on whether to accept right-of-way proposals from the Maine Department of Transportation.

The council meets at 6 p.m., Wednesday in the council chamber at 6 Church St.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ


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