As Maine towns face sticky issues raised by recreational pot, some just say no
The vote in Lebanon wasn’t overwhelming, but the message was clear.
Residents voted “No” on six referendum questions this month, prohibiting all varieties of recreational cannabis businesses and making the rural York County town the first in southern Maine to become a “dry town” in a state with newly legalized recreational marijuana.
York is holding a similar referendum Saturday and could join Lebanon on a small but growing list of Maine towns considering closing the door on the new legal marijuana market that is expected to launch next year, after lawmakers set up a regulatory system to oversee the industry.
“It’s the most clear-cut, unambiguous action a town can take,” said Ted Kelleher, an attorney with Drummond Woodsum who leads a practice group focusing on highly regulated markets, including marijuana. “It avoids the need to have to face a lot of the other more complicated, difficult questions about where you would permit these stores and how many you would allow.”