An ad hoc committee charged with investigating what the town must do if it wants a hand in regulating recreational marijuana sales and social clubs, made a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen for the implementation of a moratorium in the town.

At its Dec. 12 meeting, the board approved sending the moratorium proposal to the town attorney for review prior to taking it to the voters at a special town meeting Jan. 6.

"I hope everyone realizes what a big deal this is," resident John Lawrence said. "It could be a gateway to good and bad, and not a safe place to hang your hat."

The proposal seeks a 180-day moratorium on all retail recreational marijuana activity, including, but not limited to, retail marijuana stores, and cultivation, product manufacturing, and testing facilities within the municipality.

If enacted, the ordinance "will not limit the privileges or rights afforded by the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act."

Some towns have already passed moratoriums, but some are waiting to see what state regulations are passed in February.

At a prior meeting, Selectman Robert Butler said he was not in favor of retail marijuana shops in the town, but that, "it would be unwise to shut it down without looking at the possible revenues and what can be regulated."

There are five things that can be regulated — cultivation, testing, sale, social clubs and manufacturing — and the town must determine which, if any, of these enterprises it wants to regulate.

The initial referendum last November gave lawmakers nine months to establish rules and regulations to monitor legalized marijuana. A bill (LD 88) that passed in the Legislature Jan. 26 called for a one-year moratorium on sales of the product — which means the establishment of marijuana retail stores and social clubs will have to wait until Feb. 1, 2018.

With the passage of legalized recreational marijuana, as of January 2017 persons 21 and older can possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and grow as many as six pot plants. Smoking of marijuana is limited to private residences, property and parked vehicles.

Waldoboro residents voted 1,401 to 1,339 against the legalization of marijuana at the polls.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.