Otisfield board puts marijuana ordinance on June ballot

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OTISFIELD — The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Wednesday to place a question on the June annual town meeting warrant asking residents if they want to prohibit retail marijuana establishments and social clubs in town.

Recreational use of marijuana became legal Jan. 30, though a moratorium signed by Gov. Paul LePage will delay certain provisions of the law until February 2018.

Chairman Hal Ferguson said a generic prohibition ordinance, drafted from a Maine Municipal Association template, would only be placed on the June town meeting warrant if the town’s attorney finds that it is acceptable.

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Selectman Rick Micklon said that “even if this ordinance is passed by voters, it doesn’t mean that we can’t bring it back to voters and have them repeal it if something changes with the state.”

He said he has also fielded questions from residents asking why they’re considering a prohibition ordinance instead of a moratorium.

“The way I see it, you want the time to study (the law),” Micklon said. “If voters decide to shoot this down at the town meeting, that answers our question on where they stand in terms of retail marijuana. If they do pass it, then we can still repeal it at a later date.”

He said the prohibition would provide the town more time to look into the law.

Ferguson said that with all of the towns in the surrounding area considering their own warrant questions on retail marijuana moratoriums or prohibitions, it’s important for Otisfield to consider one as well.

“Like I’ve said at previous meetings, if the towns around us pass their own ordinances, Otisfield becomes the center of attention,” he told Micklon.

mdaigle@sunmediagroup.net

Otisfield Selectman Lenny Adler, left, Chairman Hal Ferguson, center, and Selectman Rick Micklon vote Wednesday evening to place an article on the June annual town meeting warrant asking residents if they want to prohibit retail marijuana shops and social clubs in town.

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