JAY – The Board of Selectpersons voted to put the question of whether to allow marijuana retail stores in town before the voters at the April town meeting. They also declined to schedule a special town meeting to create a temporary moratorium on medical marijuana stores.Currently, opening a medical marijuana retail store in Jay would be legal. That will change on Dec. 13, when LD 1539 becomes active. That law creates an “opt-in” process for such establishments, wherein towns will vote to allow such stores to open. Jay does not have a municipal approval process for businesses beyond submitting a form to the town, so a medical marijuana business could theoretically open in the next couple on months. According to town officials, once such business has already done so.One possibility that other towns have utilized is the creation of a moratorium to ban such businesses until the Dec. 13 date.According to Town Clerk Ronda Palmer, even if the board opted to pursue that option, the scheduling of a special town meeting would mean that the moratorium wouldn’t become active until mid-November, basically impacting Jay for a single month. The board voted unanimously not to pursue a moratorium.The board did vote to use the April 2019 town meeting to decide whether Jay should allow the opening of retail marijuana establishments after Dec. 13, 2018. Selectpersons were of the opinion that Jay residents should decide the issue. Scheduling the vote to coincide with the town meeting, rather than a special town meeting, would ensure better participation, town officials agreed.LD 1539 only affects medical marijuana retail sales, as the state continues to develop regulations for adult recreational sales. However, it appears that such regulations will include an opt-in component similar to the one in LD 1539.Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere noted that the town could implement ordinances to regular marijuana sales along with the opt-in vote. The board decided to wait on that issue to see what regulations the state will develop.
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