Topsham voters OK 2 of 3 non-binding questions on pot

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TOPSHAM — Voters on Tuesday approved two of three non-binding questions meant to guide the town on whether to allow retail marijuana sales.

Voters were asked if they want to allow medical marijuana to be sold in a retail venue, which passed 3,078 to 2,060. The question of whether to allow marijuana to be commercially grown also passed, 2,623 to 2,485.

But a question about whether to permit recreational-use marijuana to be sold to adults in retail settings failed, 2,631 to 2,485.

With enough support to move forward, an ordinance governing uses could go to Town Meeting next May, Town Manager Rich Roedner said in September.

The Board of Selectmen is expected to discuss the results and how the town should proceed Thursday, Nov. 15, Roedner said Wednesday.

Town Meeting in May voted against a ban on retail marijuana establishments. Towns are allowed by state law to prohibit retail establishments, but not medical marijuana dispensaries.

Voters at the May 2017 Town Meeting adopted a moratorium on retail marijuana sales, which followed the narrow passage of a statewide referendum in November 2016 to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana as an agricultural product. Topsham’s freeze has since been extended and expires Dec. 6.

Since a municipality must authorize retail sales, selectmen have wanted residents’ input on whether Topsham should opt in, Roedner has said. Public hearings would likely only draw a small number of people, whereas Tuesday’s gubernatorial vote should  – and did – bring many residents to the polls.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

No contests, all winners in Bath, Topsham

BATH — Incumbents on elected boards in Bath and Topsham were all unopposed Nov. 6.

City Councilors Sean Paulhus in Ward 2, Terry Nordmann in Ward 3 and Bernie Wyman in Ward 4 received 478, 429 and 467 votes, respectively. 

Paulhus has served since 2008, Nordmann since 2015 and Wyman since 1994. 

Regional School Unit 1 Chairman Steve August, who has served since 2012, and Vice Chairman Lou Ensel, on the board since 2015, fill two of the board’s three “unrestricted-residence” positions, for anyone who resides in the RSU.

They received 3,492 and 3,373 votes, respectively.

In Topsham, only the incumbents on the Board of Selectmen and School Administrative District 75 Board of Directors ran.

Selectman Roland Tufts earned 4,373 votes for his seat, which he has held since 2015. Dorothy Gardner received 4,381 votes for the School Board, where she first served from 1977-1992, and then from 2000 to the present.

Alex Lear

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.