BUCKFIELD — Selectmen voted Tuesday evening to table action on the proposed Adult Use Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance until they review it.
Rachel Lerose, who owns property and plans to build in Buckfield, presented the ordinance to govern recreational marijuana in town.
Tina Brooks, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, told Lerose that Buckfield has not opted in for recreational marijuana.
After the meeting, Town Manager Joe Roach said authority to do so strictly lies with voters at a town meeting.
Lerose said a yes vote on the ordinance would allow adult use marijuana cultivation facilities to operate in Buckfield if they received a license from the state and approval from the Planning Board. The latter includes submitting an odor mitigation and security plan to the Planning Board. It would prohibit such facilities from operating within 1,000 feet of a school and allow the town to collect application and licensing fees for these facilities.
The Planning Board does not have a quorum and needs more members join the body, Roach said.
Lerose said the ordinance would not have any impact on medical marijuana caregivers in Buckfield.
“Cultivation is already happening in this town under medical marijuana,” she said. “This allows you to accept a licensing fee and it’s much more restrictive than medical” marijuana regulations.
“This was drafted by a regulatory attorney who also does drafting for the state level and the Legislature,” Lerose said, but she didn’t share the attorney’s name. She added that the ordinance was modeled after the town’s Wind Ordinance that is already in place.
She told selectmen she’s willing to tweak the ordinance in hopes to get it on the ballot at the annual town meeting in June. But if selectmen aren’t willing to place the ordinance on the ballot, Lerose said she would collect signatures to do so.
“I didn’t want to just go out and start collecting signatures,” she said. “I wanted to be respectful of what the concerns are here.”
Board Vice Chairwoman Martha Catevenis said a petition wouldn’t force selectmen to put it on the warrant in June and they could defer putting it on the warrant until June 2021. She made the motion to table action on the document so the board could review it.
“It literally came to us last night,” Catevenis said. It’s not that we’re against it.”
Resident Penny Horsfall asked if there would be public hearings on the ordinance and Brooks said there would be.
In other news, selectmen:
- Approved submitting a letter of commitment and application to participate in AARP’s Age-Friendly Community Initiative with surrounding towns Sumner and Hartford to help seniors age in their homes;
- Approved installing information kiosks at the Highway Department and Veterans Memorial Park as requested by the Economic Development Committee. Selectmen voted 2-1 with Brooks and Selectman Cheryl Coffman voting for the measure and Catevenis voting against because her question about where the money for the labor to erect the structures wasn’t answered;
- Unanimously approved the Economic Development Committee’s usiness survey request; and
- Voted to sell Fire Engine 1 as is by sealed bid because the engine seized and can no longer be used by the department.