CHELSEA — A draft medical marijuana retail store licensing ordinance spells out requirements for future locations in town, including odor-mitigating ventilation and certifications from three town officials and an electrician.

The town’s Selectboard reviewed the first draft, written up by attorney Krisitin Collins, on Thursday night. No decision was made on the ordinance. A decision is expected Wednesday at a special Selectboard meeting.

Under the proposed new ordinance, any medical marijuana retail store would be barred from operating unless it has a license as of Aug. 1. Town Manager Scott Tilton said he is unaware of any medical marijuana retail stores already operating in the town, but there is no ordinance preventing one from opening now.

Selectboard Chairwoman Deb Sanderson said the ordinance would be a way to start introducing the medical marijuana industry in town.

“It is a way to keep track of what’s going on (and) maybe bring a little business into the town,” she said. “(Medical marijuana retail stores) incredible professional, they’re not at all a (like a) head shop.”

Applicants would be required to supply their state license and all state and local approval, a list of employees and owners for the last three years, a release for background checks, a description of the premises and a certification from a master electrician.

No license would be given until the applicant is given a “positive recommendation” of his or her ability to comply with the town’s ordinance from the fire chief, the health inspector and the code enforcement officer.

Further, the draft ordinance states “any town official with authority to make recommendations under or enforce this or other municipals ordinances” would have authority to enter the premises of an applicant or licensee without notice to make a “reasonably necessary” compliance check.

Applicants, who must be Maine residents and at least 21 years old, could appeal a denied application to the Selectboard. Awarded licenses would not be transferable.

The proposed ordinance says once a medical marijuana retail store is licensed, it must display its license, stay at a fixed location, have lockable doors and windows, have adequate video surveillance and spotlights outside of the building, have an adequate ventilation system to mitigate odor and discourage loitering or using marijuana around the store.

Tilton said earlier this week the town wants to regulate the caregivers and manufacturers through licensing, which could be a source of revenue. No licensing fee was mentioned in the draft.

Because Chelsea does not have identified districts, Tilton said, the rules would apply to the whole town.

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.

Sanderson said she was disappointed that only five residents attended a forum to discuss the draft ordinance last week. Tilton said he sent a postcard to 1,200 addresses in town, but residents at the meeting said they never received it. He said he would investigate whether the postcard ever was sent.

Some municipalities have difficulty identifying caregivers in town because the state disclosed locations only 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.

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

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: