WILTON — The Board of Selectpersons heard from Town Manager Perry Ellsworth on Tuesday, Aug. 1, that the cannabis ordinance committee, which met on the previous Thursday, had started to entertain the idea of putting a moratorium on all cannabis licensing applications until its review and revision of the ordinances was complete.

“We had a meeting with the cannabis committee,” Ellsworth said. “Part of the conversation was about needing a moratorium.”

By Ellsworth’s estimations, a moratorium on cannabis had not been implemented since 2018. The reason a moratorium has re-entered the conversation after initially believing it could be bypassed is the Planning Board has procedures it would need to follow in terms of zoning ordinances, which would require public hearings.

This is the third time a moratorium had been suggested to the Select Board, the first coming from Ellsworth in April. A moratorium on licenses for cannabis growth, cultivation and store fronts was suggested to stifle the surge in new businesses that were applying for licenses.

The surge of applications came after the Select Board voted to reduce the licensing fees for retail, growth and cultivation earlier this year. The first suggestion  of a moratorium was shot down by that board, with Selectperson Tiffany Maiuri explaining that she believed zoning ordinances should be reexamined before putting a “blanket moratorium” on new cannabis facilities.

The second time a moratorium was suggested also came from Ellsworth on Tuesday, June 6.


“Right now, we have four applications for dispensaries,” Ellsworth stated at that meeting. He later added the town of Wilton has seven cannabis operations that are licensed. The selectboard 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.

However, at the next meeting, Ellsworth believed it would be more productive to avoid the moratorium altogether and form a committee to review and revise the policies and ordinances.

Ellsworth lamented to the Select Board on Tuesday that the process for crafting a moratorium was lengthy and it would be beneficial for the Select Board to bypass the moratorium and assemble the committee to get to the heart of the problem.

“We can have this [ordinance] written before that time,” Ellsworth stated.

A committee was assembled and a date for a meeting was established for Thursday, July 20. However, that meeting was reschedule to Thursday, July 27. The cannabis ordinance committee consists of Wilton Selectpersons Mike Wells and Keith Swett and Planning Board members Michael Parker and Keith Amato.

According to Ellsworth, a moratorium would require two public hearings and would not go into effect until October or November.

Other items that were discussed at the cannabis ordinance committee meeting were proper penalties for those in violation of the ordinance as well as updating other aspects of the ordinance.

We’ve got in the current cannabis ordinance, it says to refer to the table of fees,” Wells stated. “So, we don’t have a table of fees that really addresses clearly what the cannabis fees are going to be.”

The cannabis ordinance committee will continue to meet and review their ordinances while a moratorium is being drafted. It is unclear when the Select Board will see this draft. For more information contact the town office at [207] 645-4961.

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