Voters approve moratorium on retail pot sales

By Beth A. Birmingham | Jan 08, 2018
Source: File Photo

Waldoboro — It took just 20 minutes for Waldoboro residents to approve a moratorium on retail marijuana sales at a special town meeting Jan. 6 at Miller School.

Resident and Fire Chief Paul Smeltzer was elected moderator, according to Town Clerk Eileen Dondlinger.

The meeting began at 10 a.m. with a motion to vote by secret ballot, which passed. After a brief discussion, the votes were cast, with 50 in favor and 7 opposed.

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

The approved ordinance "will not limit the privileges or rights afforded by the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act."

"I'm pleased the town is allowing time to see what the state Legislature decides to do," Selectman Bob Butler said. "The impasse between the governor and the Legislature is not helping Maine's municipalities figure out what to do."

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

There are five things that can be regulated -- cultivation, testing, sale, social clubs and manufacturing -- and towns must determine which, if any, of these enterprises they want to regulate.

The initial referendum in November 2016 gave lawmakers nine months to establish rules and regulations to monitor legalized marijuana. A bill (LD 88) that passed in the Legislature in January 2017 called for a one-year moratorium on sales of the product -- which meant the establishment of marijuana retail stores and social clubs wouldl have to wait until Feb. 1 of this year.

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

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