Franklin County commissioners to consider allowing marijuana establishments in unorganized territory


FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners will consider Tuesday opting in to the state marijuana program to allow residents in the unorganized territory to grow adult use cannabis if they get a license from the state.

The meeting is at 3 p.m. in the upstairs courtroom at the county courthouse.

Marijuana-related establishments may only be developed in a township, if the “county commissioners of the county in which the township is located have voted to allow some or all types of marijuana establishments within the township,” according to Maine law.

In addition, adult use marijuana and medical marijuana for unorganized territories are zoned, permitted, and licensed for land use by the Maine Land Use Planning Commission.

Ashley Surles, who grew up in Maine and lives in California, wants to move back to the state to use a 300-foot family property in Freeman Township to grow marijuana for adult use only and continue organic farming as she does in California. She has a California license to grow medical marijuana in a 10,000-square-foot area. She is not asking for retail sales, she told commissioners via Zoom on May 4.

Though Surles is asking just for Freeman Township, commissioners discussed opting in to the four-tier state program of cultivation licenses at their previous meeting. It would give residents in the unorganized territory the option to participate under the adult use marijuana cultivation. The participants would need to go through the state licensing process.

The county would not have anything to do with the licensing process. The marijuana establishments will be under state authority and be inspected by the state. The Sheriff’s Office will not be involved, county Clerk Julie Magoon said earlier this month.

Surles and Amanda Melnick of Maine Cannabis Consultants addressed commissioners via Zoom at their May 4 meeting. Melnick had also spoken to commissioners at an April meeting.

Commissioners decided to wait to make a decision until after they reviewed the tier process of cultivation in the state rules.

Adult use marijuana cultivation tiers are:

There are two subcategories of the tier one cultivation facility license, plant-count-based plant-canopy-based, according to state information provided by David Heidrich, spokesman for the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy. The plant-count-based “cultivation facility license allows cultivation of a specified number (not more than 30) of mature marijuana plants and an unlimited number of immature marijuana plants and seedlings.” The plant-canopy-based “cultivation facility license “allows cultivation of not more than 500 square feet of plant canopy of mature plants.”

The tier two cultivation facility license “allows cultivation by a licensee of not more than 2,000 square feet of plant canopy of mature plants.”

Tier three cultivation facility license “allows cultivation by a licensee of not more than 7,000 square feet of plant canopy of mature plants.”

Tier four cultivation facility license allows cultivation by a licensee of not more than 20,000 square feet of plant canopy of mature plants, except as approved by the state.

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