Residents cast a vote on whether or not to approve a prohibition against retail marijuana establishments and social clubs during Saturday morning’s annual town meeting in the Agnes Gray Elementary School gymnasium. 

WEST PARIS — Residents voted 34-43 during Saturday morning’s annual town meeting against approving an ordinance that would have prohibited retail marijuana establishment, social clubs and facilities in town.

After a show-of-hand vote led to a 34-34 tie, moderator Vern Maxfield said that a secret ballot would be held to break the tie.

During discussion, resident Wendy Newmeyer said that while the town is “probably not ready to move forward and have establishments that operate like a bar,” she hopes that “as the issue expands, that we can come back and re-evaluate the option.”

“I should hope that we wouldn’t want to push away any business,” she said. “I hope that we remain open-minded, and that we can revisit this in the future.”

Resident Dian Rainey told the audience that if the town decides to approve the prohibition against retail marijuana establishments, it would not prohibit marijuana “forever.”

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“You can bring any article or ordinance back to the town to amend it,” she said. “In the future, if the town wants to amend it, they can bring it back up for discussion.”

Near the end of the discussion, a resident who identified himself as “Tony” said that he was a 12-year resident of West Paris, and that he was looking to “take $100,000 and invest in West Paris” in order to “have a cannabis oil processing plant.”

“If you guys vote this down, I’m going to New Sharon and investing there,” he said to the audience. “For the operation I’m looking to do, I would hire upwards of 10 people. The equipment taxes that this town would get from me would (be helpful). If we don’t jump on this now, we’re going to lose an opportunity.

“I won’t get into the moral issue with marijuana, as there’s way too much to get into,” he said. “I will say that I’m a registered Republican and a conservative, so you can take that for what it’s worth.”

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Residents cast a vote on whether or not to approve a prohibition against retail marijuana establishments and social clubs during Saturday morning’s annual town meeting in the Agnes Gray Elementary School gymnasium. 

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