HALLOWELL — Maine’s smallest city by land area looks to be one of the first to award local licenses allowing adult-use marijuana establishments.

City Manager Nate Rudy announced last week that the city will be accepting applications for retail cannabis cultivation, product manufacturing and testing facilities, and retail stores. The application period ends at 4 p.m. on Dec. 6.

The applications, which must be renewed for any marijuana business — adult-use or medical — operating in Hallowell, will be reviewed following a public hearing prior to the Dec. 10 City Council meeting.

Following that hearing, licenses for two available licenses for downtown retail stores — adult-use or medical — will be awarded. Since the ordinance only allows two retail stores downtown, a lottery could be held if there are more than two qualified applicants. City officials said there are two people with downtown storefronts interested in securing licenses.

There are currently two medical marijuana retail stores in Hallowell, Cold Brook Cannabis on Greenville Street and the Cannabis Healing Center on Water Street. Both would have to renew their licenses this year, but Cold Brook Cannabis is not subject to limits on retail stores because it is outside of the downtown district.

Cannabis Healing Center owner Derek Wilson told the Kennebec Journal in August that he would look to make the switch to adult-use marijuana once the state’s policy is in place. Cold Brook Cannabis owner Jerrod Desjardins said Monday that he was unsure if he would want to make the same switch.

“It’s just whether or not I choose to serve medical community,” he said. “I take a lot of pride in doing the medical side of it.”

Rudy said Monday the licenses would enable an adult-use operation, but any such establishment needs a license from the city and the state. While the state has not set an adult use policy, the 129th Legislature is expected to work on that licensing after it convenes Jan. 3, 2019.

Restrictions written into Hallowell’s ordinance, however, could prevent proprietors from waiting for the Legislature to approve licensing procedure. It includes a clawback provision that could take licenses away from licensees if they do not make progress toward opening within 90 days. One 180-day extension could be awarded by the code enforcement officer if substantial progress was made.

“If someone wanted to come and get one to open an adult-use store, they could,” Rudy said. “It doesn’t make any sense for anyone to park a license right now.”

Ordinance language spelling out licensing procedure and zoning for the aforementioned facilities was finalized earlier this month by the City Council.

 

Applicants must submit a sketch plan with their application. Licenses must be renewed annually and cost $250. Unsuccessful entries in lotteries will have their application fee refunded, per the application.

No other type of marijuana establishment is allowed in downtown Hallowell. Only outdoor cannabis cultivation facilities are allowed in the Rural-Farm district as a permitted use; and cannabis retail stores, cannabis product manufacturing facilities and indoor cannabis cultivation facilities are allowed as conditional uses.

A cannabis business establishment of any kind must be “1,000 linear feet from any lot line on which the business establishment is located to nearest the lot line of a public school, a private school, or a public recreational facility,” such as a ball field or a playground.

Exempt “public recreational facilities” are the Kennebec River Rail Trail, Granite City Park, Vaughan Field, and a small park on the corner of Second Street and Union Street.

Other municipalities around the state are moving forward on their adult-use marijuana zoning and licensing. The Forecaster reported last week South Portland advanced ordinances were moving to a final reading scheduled for Dec. 18.

City Manager Nate Rudy said Monday morning that no applications were received, but attributed that to the long holiday weekend.

An electronic copy of the application can be found on the city’s website.

Sam Shepherd — 621-5666

[email protected]

Twitter: @SamShepME

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.