WILTON — The Wilton Select Board heard two proposals for marijuana business licensing fees at their meeting Tuesday, Oct. 5.

One set was formulated by Code Enforcement Officer Charlie Lavin. The other was an average of fees used in Farmington, Jay and Wilton.

There are different fees for the four tiers of cultivation facility types, categorized by the scale of the facility.

Lavin’s proposed fees are as follows:

• Retail/medical marijuana store – $1,250

• Manufacturing, processing or testing – $1,250 manufacturing, $500 testing

• Cultivation, tier 1 – $250 indoor or outdoor, 0-500 sq. ft.

• Cultivation, tier 2 – $1,000 indoor or outdoor, 501-2000 sq. ft.

• Cultivation, tier 3 – $2,000 indoor or outdoor, 2001-7000 sq. ft.

• Cultivation, tier 4 – $3,000 indoor or outdoor, 7,001-30,000 sq. ft., $1,000 extra for each additional 7,000 sq. ft. as allowed by state

The average of fees in Farmington, Jay and Wilton (from a previous version of the town’s ordinance) are as follows:

• Retail/medical marijuana store – $1,333

• Manufacturing – $1,333

• Cultivation, tier 1 – $667 indoor or outdoor, 0-500 sq. ft.

• Cultivation, tier 2 – $1,667 indoor or outdoor, 501-2000 sq. ft.

• Cultivation, tier 3 – $3,500 indoor or outdoor, 2001-7000 sq. ft.

• Cultivation, tier 4 – $7,500 indoor or outdoor, 7,001-30,000 sq. ft.

The Select Board now sets the fees, rather than voters, because of a change in the town’s marijuana ordinance. As a result, there are currently no fees in place as businesses await the annual renewal of their licenses.

Chairman David Leavitt suggested and calculated the fees based on a regional average because “we shouldn’t be competing with each other to try to steal pot business.”

Selectperson Tom Saviello suggested, however, that the fees should also be based on the time public services in Wilton spend overseeing the facility. He specifically took issue with the averaged tier 4 fees, which were $4,000 higher than tier 3.

These services and departments, which would receive a percentage of those licensing fees, include town administration, the Police Department, the Fire Department and code enforcement, according to Irish.

Aside from tier 4, Selectperson Tiffany Maiuri supported the idea of using an average and said the fees “seemed reasonable.”

Saviello eventually said he was OK with basing the fees on the average, as well.

Setting these fees can also be a “trial period,” Leavitt added. If a year from now the board feels the fees are too high or low, they can adjust them, he said.

During discussion, John Black, who owns a medical marijuana facility and retail store in Wilton, took issue with the idea of using an average.

“There are some rules and regulations out there that it has to be based on actual numbers being proposed from the town,” Black said. “I would try to compare these to other (non-marijuana) businesses in town that are bigger and larger facilities.”

Black also asked what plans the town has to get “additional fees” from caregivers who are “selling and growing at home” but have not registered with the town.

He said there are 16 individual caregivers operating in Wilton, but the town only “knows about four or five.”

“I don’t believe our ordinance covers the individual registered caregiver, so that’s not included in here, to go all around and adding that to our mix and trying to find out who they all are,” Irish responded.

Individual caregivers who grow at home “are not subject to these licensing rules,” Lavin added.

In an interview following the meeting, Irish clarified that local caregivers who sell medical marijuana to patients but do not operate out of a storefront are required to register with the state, but not with Wilton.

However, Selectperson Keith Swett agreed with Black that the town should consider regulating individual caregivers.

“If we remove marijuana from this and I want to sell something from my house or store, I’m going to need to get a permit anyway,” Swett said.

“I think we’ll need to amend the town ordinance at next town meeting,” Saviello agreed. “This should be no different, it’s a business.”

Saviello proposed the board wait to approve the fees and allow people to voice their opinions on the matter during public comment at the next meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 19. Irish said businesses whose renewals might be delayed by this idea will be informed of the finalized fees.

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