Tuesday, August 11, voters in Livermore will consider adopting a medical marijuana ordinance and several budget questions normally taken up during the annual Town Meeting at Spruce Mountain Primary School. File photo Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

LIVERMORE — When voters go to the polls Tuesday, Aug. 11, they will consider adopting a proposed medical marijuana ordinance and budget articles normally taken up during the annual Town Meeting.

During an informational meeting on the proposed medical marijuana ordinance via Zoom Wednesday, July 29, nine people listened in, Acting Administrative Assistant Amy Byron said Friday, July 31.

“There were questions about the fee structure, why the ordinance was necessary and provisions for security,” she said. “They were pretty generic questions.”

Sunday night Planning Board Chairman Jim Manter said there are two reasons for the ordinance from the town’s perspective.

“It will help promote and control the medical marijuana industry,” he said. “If the town doesn’t have an ordinance, no medical marijuana businesses would be allowed. Enacting the ordinance gives the town some control over the growth of the town,  the number and where those businesses are located.”

The ordinance would also promote what the town fathers wanted, Manter noted.

“It will give us a good structure for growth,” he added. “Livermore doesn’t have a lot of businesses. We want to have space for other businesses as well.”

The fee structure was developed by comparing with fees charged in other Maine towns, Manter said.

“It may be higher than in some places. We don’t believe it’s unreasonable,” he said.

There are two businesses with existing licenses that will be grandfathered for one year beyond their current license, Manter said.

“There is space for more medical marijuana businesses,” he added.

Security requirements were also based on what other communities have done, Manter noted.

“We believe they’re reasonable so businesses’ products and resources are protected while also protecting the youngest members of the community,” he said.

If the medical marijuana ordinance is adopted, there would be four categories and a limited number allowed for each: Two medical stores, five cultivation facilities, three manufacturing facilities and two testing facilities. Once those slots are filled, new licenses would only be available should an existing business close or the town declines to renew a business’ license. If a business is to be sold, the buyer would be given preference and would have 60 days prior to the sale date to obtain the license.

Livermore will give licensing priority to applicants who have been cultivating medical marijuana for two years in Livermore in compliance with State law and regulations, have continuously held a caregiver’s registry identification card and have had at least three patients in each year of that two-year period.

A $500 nonrefundable application fee is required. Once an application is approved, an annual $2,500 nonrefundable fee is required for each of the four categories: medical marijuana store, manufacturing facility, cultivation facility and testing facility. All existing medical marijuana businesses will be subject to annual license fees at the next renewal of their existing license.

Medical marijuana businesses may only exist and operate in the Limited Commercial Zoning District. They may not be operated on property located within 1,000 feet of the property line of a public or preexisting private school, properties used for religious worship and related activities, licensed daycare use under 10, recreational areas designated for use by children up to 18 years in age or areas designated as a municipal ‘safe zone.’

All medical marijuana business premises shall include, at a minimum:

•  Security surveillance cameras operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with 10 day video storage to monitor all entrances along with the interior and exterior of the premises.

•  Door and window combination video and motion detector intrusion system with audible alarm and smart phone monitoring.

•  A locking safe permanently affixed to the premises suitable for storage of all marijuana, marijuana products and cash stored overnight.

•  Exterior lighting illuminating exterior walls dusk to dawn, either constantly on or activated by motion detectors, that complies with provisions of lighting performance standards in the Town of Livermore zoning ordinance.

•  Deadbolt locks on all exterior doors and other access points, excepting windows that shall have locks and bars.

•  Methods to ensure that no person under the age of 21 shall have access to marijuana and marijuana products.

All medical marijuana businesses are required to have odor mitigation systems, required notices posted in the facility, and signs may not involve advertising or marketing appealing to or reaching those 21 years of age or younger.

Should voters adopt the proposed medical marijuana ordinance, the effective date would be August 11, 2020.

On August 11, voters will also consider several questions relating to the town’s financial operations. In previous years, those have been acted upon at the annual Town Meeting.

The June 10, 2020, annual Town Meeting had to be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Selectpersons voted May 26, to hold a referendum-style Town Meeting on Aug. 11, with voting from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Spruce Mountain Primary School on the Gibbs Mill Road.

Voters going to the polls will consider a $1.93 million budget for July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, that is up $129,098 or 7.2% over the current budget. County taxes are included in that amount, but not local school taxes.The budget includes an almost 3% raise for employees. Voters will also be asked to raise and appropriate $100,000 for a fire truck reserve account, borrow $125,000 for a truck and $80,000 for a used loader for the highway department and a capital roads request of $400,000.

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