With not quite 10 percent of Woolwich’s registered voters taking part in a survey, a slight majority supports allowing retail recreational marijuana stores.
The 11-question survey developed by the planning board was included with property tax bills recently mailed to residents. The survey is to help determine if the town would permit retail marijuana stores once the state sets guidelines.
Tom Stoner of the planning board said 167 of the 1,200 surveys were returned. Residents have until Friday, April 19 to participate. Copies are available at the town office.
Stoner added he and other planning board members had hoped for a much larger response. Woolwich has over 2,200 registered voters.
Stoner told the select board Tuesday night, the responses so far reveal 91 residents favor allowing marijuana retail stores; 74 are against them. One was undecided.
Another question asked if the town should allow additional stores selling medical cannabis. There is one such store at Woolwich Common; a second one, also on Route 1, will open soon. There were 119 survey respondents against allowing more of them; 46 were in favor of allowing more. Both of the current stores are grandfathered. Stoner said additional ones couldn’t be licensed without prior approval.
By nearly a 3-1 margin, respondents favored the town regulating where marijuana sales could take place. Respondents indicated little interest in helping draft ordinances to address the marijuana issue.
Chairman David King Sr. said no marijuana-related articles appear on the warrant of the May 4 annual town meeting. The select board was open to a suggestion for holding a non-binding vote during the town meeting.
“No matter what the state eventually does as far as regulating these establishments, we’ll need to have our own local ordinances,” commented King.
“One resident contacted me and said, they felt it had been a mistake to limit the survey to just one per household,” Selectman Allison Hepler told the Wiscasset Newspaper prior to the meeting. “I've encouraged households with multiple members and renters, who would not receive a property tax bill to come in to the town office and fill out the survey.”
Hepler and Selectman Jason Shaw were absent from the meeting.
Road Commissioner Jack Shaw told the select board he has started grading town roads.
“I want to go on record as thanking residents for their patience during the mud season. We’re getting to the worst of the roads as quickly as we can,” he said.