Naples board hears pot survey results

These are the survey results of questions mailed to residents of the Town of Naples regarding adult use marijuana estab-lishments.
Total surveys mailed: 2,245
Total survey returned: 320
1.) Should commercial growing, cultivation and manufacturing facilities of marijuana be allowed in Naples? Yes: 113, No: 192, Neutral: 15
2.) Should retail stores for recreational marijuana be allowed in Naples? Yes: 104, No: 204, Neutral: 12
3.) Should retail stores for medical marijuana be allowed in Naples? Yes: 137, No: 162, Neutral: 21
4.) Should marijuana testing and research facilities be allowed in Naples? Yes: 118, No: 176, Neutral: 25
5.) Should marijuana social clubs be allowed in Naples? Yes: 55, No: 234, Neutral: 29
6.) Should there be a limited amount of marijuana retail stores allowed in Naples? Yes: 151, No: 143, Neutral: 25

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — At one point, people were concerned that they would not have any say-so about whether or not recreational-use marijuana retails stores, growing facilities and/or social clubs would be in their town.

Thanks to the opt-in clause of the revised state legislation, Maine towns must vote to accept businesses affiliated with recreational-use marijuana. In other words, without approval from the majority of residents, businesses that deal in recreational use pot cannot just crop up.

Currently, there is a Marijuana Moratorium in place. The next step is for the town to come up with the language for a recreational-use marijuana ordinance.

In an effort to get guidance from residents in creating a marijuana ordinance, the Town of Naples mailed out questionnaires. The surveys arrived as a large-size postcard.

During the Naples Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday, Town Manager John Hawley revealed the results of the survey.

“This was a nonbinding survey to be used for guiding purposes,” Hawley told the board.

“From the [responses to the] questions, most of the folks in town are against marijuana businesses, with the exception of marijuana retail stores,” Hawley said.

Chairman Jim Grattelo said, “If you average this out, 64 percent are against having any type of marijuana business.”

“We had a 15% return,” Grattelo said.

“This is just for informational purposes,” he said.

“We are going to be approached — this town, at some point in time, is going to be approached by a business wanting to establish a marijuana business in town,” Grattelo said.

“We have a 6-month moratorium, and we can extend it for another six months if we need to,” he said.

Earlier in the discussion, Grattelo commented that the questions regarding the retail stores were confusing. Question number two asked if retail stores should be allowed, and question number six asked if retail stores should be limited.

“Maybe, you should have to read Number 2 and 6 together,” Grattelo said.

Audience member Larry Anton spoke.

“What you missed in the survey is that you did not distinguish between the commercial district and Village district,” Anton said.

Anton added that some people might not mind a retail store in another part of town but would be against it being on the Causeway or in the Village.

The town manager spoke.

“The nice thing is that this isn’t carved in stone,” Hawley said.

Selectman Jim Turpin said, “We can ultimately choose to opt out.”

The chairman clarified.

“We have to vote to opt in,” Grattelo said.

Turpin asked, “If we didn’t have a moratorium, would we be protected?”

Grattelo said that the town would be protected from retail stores through the state law. However, there is what is perceived as a loop hole with growing facilities since those would be permissible because of the town’s land use ordinance, governing agricultural land use.

Earlier, Grattelo had mentioned CBDs. CBD, which is short for cannabidiol and is the less intoxicating part of the pot plant, can be extracted for use.

Grattelo said that CBDs are something the town has yet to address.

Anton said there are other products on the horizon.

“All the major alcohol beverage companies are investing in marijuana. So is the Coca-Cola company,” Anton said.

Anton and board members responded to news in September that Coca-Cola has paired up with Aurora and has discussed brewing marijuana-infused beverages.

Selectman Rich Cebra said that when the Maine Legislature formed the joint select committee on the Marijuana Legalization implementation, there was no realization of what types of products might be on the horizon.

“Things are changing faster, much faster than they can keep up,” Cebra said.

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