Dexter council appoints medical marijuana task force

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DEXTER — Two months ago the Dexter Town Council passed a moratorium ordinance regarding medical retail marijuana. The moratorium ordinance is in effect for 180 days through May 11, 2019 — residents can still use medicinal and recreational marijuana within the law — as the document covers the location, operation, permitting, approval or licensing of any medical marijuana retail stores, registered dispensaries, testing facilities, and manufacturing facilities in Dexter.

The moratorium, which is not indicating a pro or con stance on the legalization of marijuana, provides time for various stakeholders to help determine town policy for beyond the second week of May, and 11 members of a temporary medical marijuana task force were appointed during a Dec. 13 council meeting.

Dexter Town Clerk

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
RETIREMENT GIFT — Dexter Town Manager Trampas King presents a plaque with a wall clock to Town Clerk Kim Hughes, with Councilor Mark Robichaud looking on, during the Dec. 13 council meeting. After a dozen years with Dexter, Hughes will be retiring at the end of the year. Deputy Clerk Susan Page will succeed Hughes.

The 11 members are residents and/or business owners and include Shelley Alley, in favor; Amanda Bagley, in favor; Council Vice Chair Marcia Delaware, in favor; Council Sharon Grant, neutral; Heidi Kinney, against; Bethany Kochler, in favor; Darlyn McKleroy, in favor; Deanna Page, against; Anthony Pandozzi, in favor; Deborah Worthington, neutral; and Melvin Wyman, neutral.

In July the Maine Legislature passed a bill amending the state’s medical marijuana law which enables registered caregivers to sell marijuana to qualifying patients as well as allowing them to operate medical marijuana manufacturing facilities, medical marijuana testing facilities, and six additional registered medical marijuana dispensaries. The Legislature also gave municipalities the right to regulate medical retail marijuana facilities.

During the November 2016 election Maine residents approved a referendum question concerning the possession and use of marijuana by those 21 and older which also allows for the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing and sale of marijuana and products subject to state regulation, taxation, and local ordinance. In Dexter 57 percent of voters were against the question, and town officials used this to indicate that there is community support for the moratorium ordinance.

Since the vote more than two years ago, town officials across the state and the Maine Municipal Association have been examining what the referendum means, how the Maine Legislature is responding, and what individual communities can do with local ordinances. Communities were given the ability to opt out of the retail aspect of recreational marijuana, which was done in Dexter with moratorium ordinances previous to the one passed in October.

In other business, Town Manager Trampas King said he has received a letter from the town attorney concerning the long-running issue of the dangerous building at 121 Main Street with the document stating the homeowner missed the last timeframe to appeal and the town is able to proceed with demolishing the structure.

“He’s saying we are OK to do what we set to do in the first place,” King said.

Earlier in the year Wyman Construction of Dexter had been awarded the demolition for a bid of $5,800, but the company opted to pull out with delays to the start of the work.

“We will put it out to bid, probably next week,” King said. “Probably by the next meeting we can OK the bid so we can do it right after that.”

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