Chelsea will become the next central Maine town to consider marijuana regulations when selectmen discuss the potential for medical marijuana licensing Thursday.

Town Manager Scott Tilton said the town wants to regulate the caregivers and manufacturers through licensing, which also can be a source of revenue for the town. Potential restrictions could include barring medical marijuana establishments from areas around schools and creating ventilation standards to reduce odors produced by such businesses. Because Chelsea does not have identified districts, Tilton said, the rules would apply to the whole town.

“Everyone’s kind of a nervous about recreational,” he said. “There (aren’t) as many risks or downsides to regulating medical.”

Tilton said he knew of three caregivers in town, but a list given to the Kennebec Journal in January by David Heidrich, director of engagement and community outreach for the state Office for Marijuana Policy, said there are eight in Chelsea. Tilton was not aware of any caregiver storefronts in the town.

Some municipalities have difficulty identifying caregivers in town because the state only disclosed locations to law enforcement. In Farmingdale, officials are considering local licensing as a way to tax their business equipment, as well as locate medical marijuana caregivers operating in town for safety and ordinance enforcement. While Maine law allows only law enforcement officials to have access to caregiver information, municipalities can create regulations that make that information public — licenses would be public documents — as part of “home rule.”

Some smaller municipalities have opted to create dedicated committees to handle marijuana ordinance writing, but Tilton said Chelsea probably will not form one.

He said the town has not “opted in” to allowing recreational marijuana businesses, therefore prohibiting any establishments from coming into town when rules are finished at the state level. A draft of the rules was released in April.

Selectman Benjamin Smith said he was not aware of the number of caregivers in Chelsea, but he said that did not affect his opinion on licensing, which he declined to give. He added that he will not be able to attend Thursday’s meeting because of a prior commitment.

Selectboard Chairwoman Deb Sanderson and Selectman Mike Pushard were not available for comment on Wednesday.

Selectmen are scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Town Office.

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