A behavioral health clinic offering methadone and other treatments for substance use disorder will be discussed at a Madison town meeting on Monday. Such a clinic is planned at 2 Old Point Ave. in Madison, seen above on April 22. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

MADISON — At town meeting on Monday, Madison residents are expected to weigh in on a proposed moratorium on facilities that distribute controlled substances drafted in response to a proposed methadone clinic.

Voters also will review an ordinance to permit medical marijuana retail shops that currently violate an existing ordinance along with a proposed $4.30 million budget, representing about a 5% increase over the budget approved last year.

Town meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Monday in the auditorium at Main Street Middle School at 205 Main St.

The proposed moratorium would prohibit the opening of facilities that dispense controlled substances in areas of the town while officials develop amendments to existing town land use ordinances.

The Board of Selectmen crafted the proposal after hearing concerns from residents about the proposed site of a behavioral health clinic operated by Acadia Healthcare at the former Taylor’s Drug Store at 2 Old Point Ave. Acadia is under contract to buy the building but has not yet submitted any plans to the town, officials said.

The Tennessee-based health care provider says it would offer a variety of treatments and services at what it calls a comprehensive treatment center. Those would include the administration of methadone and Suboxone (a combination medication containing buprenorphine and naloxone), both controlled substances that are used widely to treat opioid addiction in adults.


Some residents and officials said that, while they see the need for the treatment center, they were concerned about the impacts of having it in the center of town and near schools. The Old Point Avenue site is at the intersection of state routes 8, 43, 148 and U.S. Route 201A in Madison’s main business district.

Town officials originally said a moratorium or restrictive ordinance were not possibilities, based on initial legal advice. After seeking more information, they learned that a moratorium could be legally effective, though any decision could be subject to challenge.

Acadia representatives have told the town they are now considering other locations in Madison, Town Manager Denise Ducharme said at a recent Board of Selectmen meeting.


The proposed moratorium excludes medical marijuana because voters will be taking up a separate issue related to that substance.

One warrant article asks voters to amend Madison’s drug and drug paraphernalia ordinance to allow the retail sales of medical cannabis products. Several businesses already sell medical marijuana in town, Ducharme said.


A “yes” vote would allow existing medical marijuana retail stores in the town to continue to operate and the Planning Board to review the existing ordinance.

A “no” vote would lead to the Office of Cannabis Policy to shut down the existing medical marijuana stores authorized after December 2018 and prohibit the authorization of any new stores.

In recent months, the Maine Office of Cannabis Policy informed the town that since an ordinance passed in June 2018 prohibiting retail sales of marijuana did not explicitly allow for retail medical marijuana sales, existing stores selling the product are doing so illegally, Ducharme said.

The existing ordinance does state that it is not “intended to prohibit any lawful use, possession or conduct pursuant to the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act.”

“It did not expressly say medical retail,” Ducharme said in an interview Thursday. “And because it didn’t expressly say that, when the Office of Cannabis Policy created their rule in December 2018 that required municipalities to expressly opt in for medical retails sales, our ordinance did not, in fact, meet that expectation.”



Voters will review a $4,259,502 budget for the 2024-25 fiscal year, which reflects an approximately 5% increase over the budget approved last year, Ducharme said.

Of that total, about $3.64 million would be raised through taxes, according to Ducharme.

Proposed expenditures for town departments include $802,000 for general government; $843,000 for public safety; $640,000 for public utilities; $868,000 for public works; $132,000 for recreation; and $147,000 for the public library.

The municipal budget does not include county and school district assessments. The Somerset County assessment for Madison is approximately $936,000. If approved by voters at the district referendum vote Tuesday, the Maine School Administrative District 59 assessment would be $5.28 million.

Town officials have yet to determine the new property tax rate, Ducharme said.



Also included on the town meeting warrant is a land swap between the town of Madison and American Legion Post 39.

The proposal is to exchange a town parcel on South Maple Street with the post’s current land so that the American Legion can “build a new facility, tear down the existing structure, remove the debris, and pave the area for replacement municipal parking,” the article says.

The swap will have a minimal impact on the town, Ducharme said.

“The land itself is valued very, very close: They’re both in the neighborhood of about $30,000 for the parcels,” Ducharme said. “And neither one of them is really taxed because the American Legion is tax exempt and then the town of Madison owns the other piece so we don’t tax ourselves.”

Another article asks voters to allow ATV access on streets in Madison’s “village area” to access the new Kennebec Valley Trail, which recently opened, and the proposed Maine Department of Transportation access route.

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