WOOLWICH — The owners of Farley’s Cannabis Farm, a local medical marijuana dispensary, are waiting impatiently for Woolwich town officials to figure out what rules they want to set for marijuana sales in town.

“We go to every town meeting and try to educate them because they don’t know what they’re doing,” said Kelli Small, co-owner of Farley’s Cannabis Farm. Small and her daughter Sayra have also given the board another town’s ordinance as a guide for writing Woolwich’s.

Woolwich selectmen plan to assemble a sub-committee to draft local recreational marijuana rules during a town hall meeting at 5 p.m. July 15.

Maine has approved state rules to govern recreational pot sales, but like many communities, Woolwich has yet to decide how to handle the industry.

The Smalls want the regulations passed as soon as possible so they can find out whether the town will let them expand into recreational marijuana sales, and if so, what conditions they’d have to meet.

“Even if people use medical marijuana, why would they pay for a (medical marijuana) card if they can get the same thing recreationally?” said Sayra Small.

Although Mainers voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016, each city and town must decide to opt in if they want to allow sales, rather than opt out, as other states that have legalized adult-use pot have done. To opt in, a town must draft and approve an ordinance outlining specific regulations for recreational marijuana use, cultivation and sales.

The Smalls say entering the recreational market would help them compete with larger, out-of-state companies.

“I owe it to my parents and my patients to stay viable within the coming years,” said Sayra Small.

Maine voted to legalize medical marijuana in 2009, and dispensaries opened to provide medical-grade cannabis to patients who have a prescribed medical marijuana card.

Kelli Small and Fred King founded Farley’s Cannabis Farm with their daughter, Sayra Small, in 2014. They opened their first storefront on April 20, 2019.

“We have cancer patients, pediatric patients, people with epilepsy, cerebral palsy, the list goes on,” said Sayra Small. “A lot of people rely on us.”

“It has been really frustrating dealing with the state,” said David King Sr., Woolwich Select Board chairman, when asked why an ordinance hasn’t been drafted. “We’re on hold until we can get our act together.”

While Woolwich hasn’t written any rules to consider, they did survey residents. However, according to minutes from an April 16 board meeting, only 162 of 1,200 surveys were returned, making the results “inaccurate,” according to King. Some residents returned multiple surveys, skewing results, he added.

Last week, Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill outlining rules for Maine’s recreational marijuana industry, likely clearing the way for many towns to determine any additional restrictions they want to put in place, or if they want to allow recreational sales at all.

The bill outlines the legal framework surrounding the sale of recreational marijuana as well as how Mainers can grow it themselves. The bill is expected to go into effect in September, meaning the sale of recreational marijuana could begin by March.

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