WILTON — The Wilton Select Board voted on Tuesday, June 6, to bring a moratorium on all cannabis operations to the board at their next meeting on Tuesday, June 20.

A moratorium is a temporary prohibition of certain activities, and in this case would be a prohibition of licensing cannabis operations at all levels, including growth and distribution.

Town Manager Perry Ellsworth had previously brought the suggestion of a moratorium to the Select Board on Tuesday, April 4, following the reduction of licensing fees for cannabis growth and dispensaries.

Licensing fees for dispensaries in the town of Wilton was reduced to $100 from $1,333 in February and the tier one fees for growing and cultivation of cannabis was reduced to $250 from $667 in March.

Ellsworth’s reasoning for the moratorium was due to the high volume of new applications that were being processed and he reiterated that concern at the June 6 meeting.

“Right now, we have four applications for dispensaries,” Ellsworth stated. He later added that currently, the town of Wilton has seven cannabis operations that are licensed. According to Ellsworth, if the moratorium were to go into effect, it would not change the status of the cannabis facilities that are currently licensed or those that are actively seeking a license.


Ellsworth also shared Maine Office of Cannabis Policy [OCP] did an inspection on an unlicensed and undisclosed facility in Wilton and found they had far exceeded the number of plants they were legally allowed.

“They had to chip 1,500 square feet of illegal marijuana plants,” he stated. “So that’s about $100,000 worth of marijuana that they chopped up into the woods and made into mulch.”

Ellsworth also added that the Meadow Lanes bowling alley in Wilton also had an application for a dispensary and the planning board would be holding a public hearing on Thursday, June 15, at 7 p.m. over utilizing 3,000 square feet of the bowling alley to be used for a medical marijuana retail store.

Ellsworth asked the board if they could make a motion to direct him to put together a moratorium for their next meeting.

Selectperson Mike Wells made the motion for Ellsworth to put a moratorium together for marijuana dispensaries, but amended his motion to include all cannabis operations when Chairperson David Leavitt voiced his concerns over the motion being too narrow.

“For me, I would think we would want to have the town manager bringing forth a potential moratorium related to cannabis operations in the town,” Leavitt stated.


The moratorium would only be in effect until the town is able to put together a committee to review the ordinances and adjust. These adjustments would then go through the planning board and eventually the Select Board.

Wells voiced his concern over the lack of penalty for “after the fact” licensing applications, meaning certain cannabis operations are beginning to grow and cultivate their stock before they begin the process of gaining a license.

“There are kind of some strict guidelines and penalties for after the fact permitting,” Wells stated. “You look at shoreland, D.E.P. and so forth, there are some hefty fees for after the fact permitting.”

He added, “What is the penalty? Nothing, because the ordinance is either weak or nonexistent.”

The board voted in favor of Ellsworth bringing a moratorium over all cannabis operations to the Select Board at their next meeting. The vote was 3 to 2, with Keith Swett and Vice Chair Phil Hilton opposing the motion.

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