KENNEBUNK, Maine — Those who cast ballots at a referendum-style town meeting Tuesday voted overwhelmingly in favor of a moratorium on retail marijuana stores and social clubs.
There were 366 votes in favor and 83 against the proposal, according to election results provided by Deputy Town Clerk Carrie Weeman.
The moratorium is designed to give municipal planners time to study the town’s current codes to determine the land use and other regulatory implications of retail marijuana establishments.
Under the Marijuana Legalization Act, municipalities are authorized to regulate the number of retail marijuana stores, and the location and operation of such retail facilities, within their jurisdiction.
Biddeford City councilors voted in January to uphold their decision to enact a 180-day moratorium on retail marijuana facilities for the same reasons.
Other communities, such as Sanford, have held off, noting the state rule-making process has just begun.
Maine voters narrowly approved the use of recreational marijuana in a state-wide referendum Nov. 8. While the portion of the law that allows marijuana use went into effect at the end of January, the Legislature has extended — until February 2018 — the time period for regulating the retail sales and social club portions of the Marijuana Legalization Act to allow time for adequate rule-making.
The moratorium in Kennebunk will last for 180 days, but may be renewed. It applies to the location, operation or licensing of any retail marijuana social clubs and any retail establishments including stores, cultivation facilities, marijuana products, manufacturing facilities and testing facilities within the town limits.
Passage of the moratorium also halts locating, operating or licensing any new medical marijuana cultivation facility or dispensary under the town’s zoning ordinances.