CANTON — Selectmen on Thursday scheduled a special town meeting for Sept. 28 to vote on whether to allow a medical marijuana business in town.
It comes 11 months after the board granted Kevin Belanger of Dixfield a request for a vote in October 2020.
Polls will be open from 2 to 8 p.m. at the Town Office meeting room. A public hearing on the issue will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 7 at the same location.
Belanger, a state-licensed medical marijuana caregiver, owns a medical marijuana business in Mexico. He purchased the Canton Caboose in April 2020, a month after he approached the board about his plan to operate a medical marijuana business and an ice cream shop there and received their general approval, he said.
After waiting more than a year after buying the property and a vote still not scheduled, in June he presented the board with a citizen petition supporting medical marijuana businesses.
The board voted to hold a town meeting Aug. 23, but then delayed it until a medical marijuana ordinance was drafted, according to a Facebook post last week by Town Clerk Carol Buzzell.
A November vote was being considered, Belanger said, adding to his frustration and prompting him to post his criticism of the board on Facebook.
He wrote that the reason the vote has been postponed so many times is selectmen “don’t care about you, the voters, who signed the petition. I believe they despise those of us who choose to medicate with a natural plant. We are their stereotype. We are ‘pot heads,’ ‘burnouts’ and ‘troublemakers,’ which is a ridiculous and uneducated perception.”
Board Chairman Russell Adams declined to comment on the post.
At Thursday’s meeting, Town Clerk Vernice Boyce reviewed financial options for which items would be considered on the list to reduce and offset taxes.
Selectmen decided to hold another special town meeting at 6 p.m. Sept. 9 to vote on appropriating $217,000 to reduce taxes. Among the 11 revenue items up for consideration include $150,000 for automobile and boat excise taxes, $15,000 for tree growth reimbursement and $29,650 from Hartford for fire protection.
In other business, residents Vicky and Danny Waite complained to selectmen that their neighbors on Hayford Court have created an eyesore and health hazard on the street.
“We’ve lived on that street … 40 years next month and the deterioration of that street is horrible, Vickey Waite said. “It’s a mess. In fact, I’m ashamed to live there. So, the first (complaint) is the dumpster on the line of my neighbor. I’m dealing with a lot of rodents. I don’t think it’s fair that I have to have that dumpster on (my property) line, smelling it (and dealing with) the flies and the rats,” she said.
Another complaint was a neighbor’s vacant trailer was also attracting stray cats, rats and mice.
She said the cats help with the mice “but I don’t own a cat. And when I come out of my house in the morning to go to work, and smell cat urine on my front door, and all over my (yard) I have a problem with that. It’s disgusting. It’s an eyesore.”
After listening to the Waites’ pleas for help with the ongoing trash, and health and safety issues, selectmen said they would send the code enforcement officer and health officer to inspect the area and speak to the landlords of the properties.
In other business, members of Canton Trail Riders ATV club invited the community and the public to the 25th Annual ATV Toy Run at the Whistle Stop Trail in Farmington on Sept. 11 at 9 a.m. The group, along with the Western Maine ATV Club and Brettun’s Wheelers ATV Club will have a free barbecue, 50/50 raffle and hot coffee and donuts for sale. For more information on the event contact Brian Jordan at 357-4460.
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