HALLOWELL — After the approval of the second reading on Tuesday, an ordinance explaining licensing procedure and zoning for adult-use marijuana establishments could be enacted next month.

The City Council advanced adult-use marijuana ordinances and an ordinance to allow street performers downtown to third and final readings. These two ordinances were first discussed last month.

Only one change was made to the marijuana ordinance, limiting the amount of available licenses for retail stores in Downtown Hallowell to two, as requested last month by Councilor Lisa-Harvey McPherson.

“I think we need to balance social recreation with business and other family-oriented activity in the district,” she said last month. “It’s a lot easier to move up (and) it’s going to be exceedingly difficult to go down.”

No change was made after Councilor Kate DuFour said last month that some language about licensing was “subjective.”

In one section, it states that an applicant’s “good moral character” could be weighed by city officials in determining whether to issue or deny a license.

City Manager Nate Rudy addressed these potentially subjective terms, saying that he was advised to keep them in the draft ordinance because they were “tried and true.”

“It echoes the language in liquor licensing,” he said.

There are two medical marijuana establishments in Hallowell, Cold Brook Cannabis on Greenville Street and the Cannabis Healing Center on Water Street. Both would have to apply for retail licenses if interested, but Cold Brook Cannabis is not subject to limits on retail stores because it is outside of the downtown district.

There are two other non-operational downtown storefronts being held by owners awaiting adult-use marijuana regulations from the state and city. There would likely be a lottery for all qualified licensees, meaning one existing storefront would miss out, per the new draft ordinance language.

Mayor Mark Walker said he has been contacted by the storefront owners and said there was a “great deal of interest” from the adult-use marijuana industry.

Councilors George LaPointe and Kara Walker mentioned a clawback provision to take licenses away from those who get them. Walker said that was in case someone who wishes to not allow marijuana establishments downtown puts in for a license, obtains one and does not open a storefront.

City Manager Nate Rudy said he would look into adding that language before the third reading.

There is still no state-wide procedure for receiving licenses. Hallowell’s draft licensing ordinance says the operator of any establishment must also have a state-issued license.

Rudy said a public hearing could happen prior to the third reading of the adult-use marijuana ordinances, but one was not scheduled before the second reading was approved.

Busking ordinance

Only one change was made to the draft sidewalk art and busking ordinance before it advanced to a third reading, dealing with fire-based performances.

Blacksmithing and other fire-related performances are now prohibited “in the downtown area between Second Street on the west and the Kennebec River on the east and between the railroad overpass on the north and Temple Street on the south.”

This change was made at the request of Harvey-McPherson to protect the historic buildings in downtown Hallowell.

Rudy said the city, with wider sidewalks after the reconstruction of Water Street wrapping up this fall, will be more attractive to street performers and artists.

The city currently does not have an ordinance that prohibits street performers. This ordinance is seen as “an explicit definition of terms,” according to Rudy, that invites performers into town.

All ordinances progressed unanimously. Harvey-McPherson, DuFour and Councilor Lynn Irish were absent.

The third and final reading of the marijuana and sidewalk busking ordinances, as well as the second reading of the snow removal ordinance, will likely be on the agenda for the next City Council meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Sam Shepherd — 621-5666

[email protected]

Twitter: @SamShepME

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