December 2, 2016

Town of Raymond puts marijuana decision on hold - By Stephen Signor

Two days before Thanksgiving, Raymond Selectmen agreed to put a marijuana moratorium on hold after the question passed by just a couple hundred votes. Unlike Windham and Gray where decisions are voted on by the council, Raymond has an entirely different process. They have a government format that has to go for a vote before the town. 

“Prior to this they have to come up with language, write the moratorium language and then have a public hearing to find out what the people want to do and then have a town meeting,” stated town manager Don Willard. To this end it was discussed just how and when to proceed.

In an opening statement, Selectman Joe Bruno said, “There’s going to be a recount so it is a bit premature to start talking about this now. My sense on all this is I don’t want to see a marijuana club in Raymond; I probably don’t want to see a marijuana store in Raymond. I’m not sure that is the kind of development we want in town. I want to bring this moratorium to your attention, but I think we wait to see what the recount brings and wait and see what the state does for developing rules.”

All a moratorium does is give time (180 days) to establish an ordinance. “The time I think to do a moratorium, in my view, would be sometime in the spring to see what the rules are going to be and then set your 180 day moratorium and establish local rules. They (individuals) cannot apply for a marijuana commercial license of any kind until they have a state license and they cannot obtain a state license until the state has rules,” explained Willard.

Selectman Lawrence Taylor replied, “I’m 100 percent in agreement. It passed in the town, so we’re talking about us making sure that we do what the town wants us to do, so we shouldn’t do anything right now.”

I’m not in favor of having it but we have to see what people that come out to the public hearing have to say,” said selectman Rolf Olsten. 

Bruno also agreed, but pointed out,” I think the issue is we don’t know until we go to public hearing and see what the input is. I’m not sure people in the Town of Raymond would want a social club somewhere on 302. I’m not interested in doing a moratorium. If I am going to bother doing an ordinance I’m going to prohibit it.”

Selectwoman Teresa Sadak posed the question of inquiries since it passed. Code enforcement officer Chris Hanson said, “The day it passed I had five guys in my office wanting to expand medical marijuana into recreational, social clubs and retail stores. Right now there is medical marijuana. People are growing it. Some are doing that in their garages as a home occupation and some that are commercial and that’s legal.” 

“If we don’t regulate it, it will be in Raymond. The thing you can do is, if you read the law, is prohibit it in town be it retail or social. You can also legislate by using the land ordinance for zoning, to zone it in another part of town. You can prohibit them by so many feet from a school or church. There are all kinds of way to limiting where and even in number. I just don’t see us wasting a lot of attorney fees to write up a moratorium now,” continued Hanson. 

The conclusion of what happens in the meantime is exactly nothing.

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