On January 16th at 5 in the evening the Town of Rangeley Ordinance Committee hosted a Public Workshop to discuss the draft Commercial Marijuana Business and Facilities Ordinance.

The purpose of this ordinance is to regulate commercial marijuana businesses in order to promote the health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of Rangeley and to establish reasonable and uniform regulations for the appropriate location of commercial marijuana businesses in Rangeley. An affirmative adoption of this ordinance will qualify as the “opt-in” provision given to Municipalities within the law and applies to all commercial sales, BOTH medical and non-medical. A Town must, by way of adoption of an ordinance, amendment of an ordinance or approval of a warrant article “opt-in” to allow some or all types of marijuana establishments within the municipality.

As one would suspect the room was divided on the topic and while some offered their strong opposition to marijuana use in the Town at all the topic of the meeting was to discuss the draft document. Which can be requested at the Town Office or viewed on the Town website.

There was a suggestion from opponents to place a question on the ballot asking if the people even wanted this type of business in Town and then ask about adopting the ordinance, the problem that process presents is if the question received a majority in favor, equivalent of opting in because of our form of Town Meeting and the ordinance did not meet the same favor, there would be nothing in place to regulate the businesses.

Opponents feel Rangeley, which is advertised as a “vacationland” should not be promoting marijuana use and sales. Proponents countered with “vacationland” is the State byline, not Rangeley on its own and the statewide legalization has been approved. Opponents wish to see additional restrictions, such as further exclusion on location, not allowed on Main Street at all. Proponents expressed an opinion that the Ordinance as drafted is too restrictive, where do you want these types of businesses if not within the commercial district. Opponents argued that any business of this type would ruin our small town, while proponents emphatically said it’s not going to ruin this town and reminded everyone its already here so why not take the steps to regulate it the best we can.

The Ordinance Committee has diligently worked with well-educated people on both sides of the topic for a years’ time and developed regulations that will promote “good business”.

Regardless of your position on marijuana please take the time to review the draft ordinance and participate in several more public formats at which it will be discussed, the next being January 28, 2019 at 5:30 pm, hosted by the Board of Selectmen.