NEW GLOUCESTER – Residents voted overwhelmingly Wednesday night to approve an ordinance establishing a 180-day moratorium on retail marijuana establishments and retail marijuana social clubs. 

By a show of hands, five of the 40 residents voted against the ordinance.

On Nov. 8, Maine voters will decide whether to legalize recreational use of marijuana, allowing municipalities to regulate the location and operation of retail marijuana establishments and retail marijuana social clubs and to adopt and enforce regulations for such uses.

The moratorium ordinance gives the town time to draft regulations governing such establishments and clubs, because the town Zoning Ordinance has no provisions or standards for them.

Resident Amy Arata, a member of the Regional School Unit 15 board of directors and the Planning Board, said the moratorium is necessary to deal with safe zones around schools.

Town Manager Paul First said New Gloucester has had several inquiries about medical marijuana facilities, which are not part of the moratorium ordinance.


“Legalized medical marijuana was not envisioned as a use when the Zoning Ordinance was written,” First said.

Resident Peter Bragdon said the moratorium ordinance fails to address wholesale versus retail establishments.  “I think we’re pushing this through too quickly,” he said.

Resident Richard Maguire, a retiree of the Maine State Police, said, “If we pass the law through Maine, kids will have access because it will supersede all laws enacted for children.”

He said there would be more drugged drivers and pedestrians, including impaired teenagers. 

“Hold on to your hat,” he said, “this is a major change and Emergency Medical Service is not ready for this issue, Maguire said. “We have an epidemic on drugs in the USA and this doesn’t do anything positive for society.”

Maguire said, “I’m against putting these kinds of businesses in our town. It lowers property value and lowers quality of life. We don’t need the tax benefit to the town.”

Beverly Cadigan favored the moratorium.

“We need time to look at the zoning now,” she said. “Nothing can be changed in the zoning ordinance without approval of voters. If you wait until after the 8th, someone could come in and do it. Be proactive and look at this ahead of time.”

If Mainers reject legalizing marijuana, zoning changes would not be needed, since it would be an illegal activity, First said.

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