VASSALBORO — Residents are expected to decide Tuesday whether to close what officials have called a marijuana growing “loophole,” as voters consider the final four articles on this year’s town warrant.

The remaining articles include amendments to the town’s marijuana business and solid waste ordinances, final approval of the school budget and the two uncontested races, with Chris French and Jolene Clark Gamage running for reelection to the Board of Selectmen and School Committee, respectively.

Polls are scheduled to be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Vassalboro Town Office at 682 Main St.

About 80 residents gathered June 3 at the Vassalboro Community School gymnasium to vote on 41 other articles, covering items ranging from new snowplows to changes in town governance.

Voters approved a roughly $3.1 million budget, which Town Manager Aaron Miller said was down slightly from last year. Residents also approved about $9.5 million in funding for the Vassalboro Community School, which serves about 400 students in prekindergarten through eighth grade.

With the town planning to raise about $2 million in revenue, residents will be on the hook for the municipal budget’s remaining $1 million, though Miller said the impact on property tax bills remains uncertain. Next year’s property tax rate has yet to be determined, he said, because the town’s property value assessment is still incomplete.


“It’s a framework. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done,” Miller said. “There’s a lot of pieces of the puzzle that need to be dialed in.”

Vassalboro’s school budget must still be approved in the June 11 election before it is officially adopted.

Voters last week also filled a vacancy on Vassalboro’s Budget Committee, electing Laura Jones to the 10-person panel. Richard Bradstreet, Frank Richards, Nate Gray and Douglas Phillips were reelected to the committee.

Article 12 was the only item voted down. It sought to repeal Vassalboro’s 125-person quorum for special town meetings. A quorum is the minimum number of people required to be present for a group to conduct official business or make decisions.

Since 1991, Vassalboro has required at least 125 registered voters to be present for special town meetings, which are different from annual town meetings and can only be convened by the town’s selectmen.

Town officials said only two such meetings have been called since the requirement became law: One to regulate medical marijuana, the other involving a seminude coffee shop.


The quorum requirement was created by the state Legislature more than 30 years ago, according to Vassalboro resident Elizabeth “Libby” Mitchell, a former longtime state legislator who co-sponsored the bill while in office.

“Why would you want to do it anyway?” Mitchell said. “Why would you want to do business without many people present?”

Repealing the state’s requirement would not likely hold up to legal scrutiny, according to moderator Richard Thompson, because state law supersedes municipal policy.

“If you vote to approve this, then it’s highly likely that you’re in conflict with the law, if it passes,” he said.

Article 12 was soundly defeated.

The four articles voters are to take up Tuesday include updates to Vassalboro’s marijuana and solid waste ordinances.


Vassalboro prohibits new medical and recreational marijuana cultivation in town. The proposed change to the town’s ordinance would close what selectmen have described as a “500-foot loophole” that allows small-scale medical cannabis growing operations to operate without oversight from the town government.

The town’s ordinance prohibits the cultivation, packaging and sale of recreational and medical marijuana. Vassalboro voters approved the ordinance in 2021 “to protect public health, safety and welfare” of town residents. Personal and medical growing operations using less than 1,000 square feet, however, are exempt from the rules.

Because medical marijuana caregivers are only required to register with the state if they have more than 500 square feet of growing space, town officials said small-scale growers are able to operate without oversight from the town.

Vassalboro is also looking to update its solid waste ordinance, which officials say has not been properly updated in decades. The changes would refine the Vassalboro Public Works Department’s administrative structure, Miller said, and bring the department closer in line with Maine Department of Environmental Protection regulations.

“The biggest proposed changes are to administration and management as well as enforcement. This was a lot of housekeeping stuff,” Miller said of the changes at a Board of Selectmen meeting in February.

He added that “1988 was the last year this was written.”

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