What would the Citizens’ Initiative accomplish?
The Citizens’ Initiative, if approved by the voters, would allow the establishment of a recreational retail cannabis store in the following districts where retail stores are allowed:
      • Downtown Village I
      • Bar Harbor Gateway
      • Downtown Village II
      • Downtown Village Transitional
When would the Citizens’ Initiative be placed before the voters?

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Bar Harbor Warrant Committee Recommends to Voters to vote yes on these two initiatives

Read the full Mount Desert Islander Article here – Warrant Committee makes recommendations for November

Author: Victoria DeCoster

Marijuana use and licensing   

For two citizens’ petitions that combined would greenlight retail marijuana stores in town, the Warrant Committee voted 9-6 in recommendation of adoption on both accounts.  

The first petition amends the land use ordinance to define recreational marijuana as a new use under retail in four districts within Bar Harbor, including downtown.  

A second initiative enacts the licensing component for up to two shops, which is crucial for an adult use store to open. If both proposals are passed, the license carrier would also need state and Planning Board approval before issuing sales. 

Voters rejected a similar article put forth by the same group in June. That amendment sought a license by referencing the land use ordinance that had not yet been defined to include recreational marijuana as a permissible retail use.   

Unlike this current iteration, the Warrant Committee had recommended rejection of the last initiative.  

The majority of committee members who voted in favor of recommendation of adoption on both counts included Berberian, Kelly, Libby, Lopez, Reece, Sasner, Sassaman, Smith and St. Germain.  

The minority of committee members who voted against recommendation of adoption on both counts included Chaplin, Chappell, Cough, Desveaux, Salvatore, and Young.  

Salvatore, who voted against the initiative, said the downtown should be “clean” and worried kids might be enticed walking by a storefront.  

Sasner, who voted in favor of the proposals, rebutted Salvatore’s statement and said more regulation would make it harder to get, and perhaps eliminate the need for those who are selling the substance illegally.  

A representative of the citizens’ petition, Philip Payne, said the industry is one of the most, if not the most, regulated retailers in the state.  

“You have to have a government issued ID showing that you’re 21 to even get in the door, there has to be security officers on site to check those IDs, and you have to have security cameras cover 100 percent of the business so there’s no dead space,” Payne said.  

During a meeting Sept. 6, the Town Council gave a separate recommendation of rejection for the licensing initiative on a vote of 5-2.  

Why did the town council and warrant committee Recommend Voters to Reject the Previous initiative?

The Town Council and Warrant Committee believe the original petition was required to be two separate petitions – one for licensing and one for land use. They stated that if the voters pass ARTICLE 4 in June it would approve the licensing regulation. They stated a land use ordinance regulation would also be required. While, our legal counsel disagreed with the town’s legal opinion on separate ordinances, we proactively drafted the land use ordinance to have voters sign on June 14th at the town hall. In addition, we created a second licensing petition for voters to sign in the event the town council insists on two simultaneous petitions are required.

How did the Bar Harbor Citizens vote in the 2016 state legalization of recreational marijuana?

One thousand eight hundred seventy seven (1,877) registered voters, 59%, of Bar Harbor voted in FAVOR of legalization of recreational cannabis.

Are medical cannabis sales legal in Bar Harbor?

Yes, since 1999. Medical cannabis sales are currently legal in all of Bar Harbor and MDI. These require customers to obtain medical cards if a patient’s medical provider states it would help them medically. Minimum age is 18 years old. There is no mandated testing of products sold, home delivery is permissible and has 5.5 % sales tax.

Is recreational cannabis regulated by the state?

Yes. Recreational cannabis is highly regulated by the state requiring significantly more stringent regulations of its owners and business operations. This includes, but not limited to:

· Annual background checks and fingerprinting of all owners and employees,

· All products have to PASS strict State mandated testing,

· Every product is tracked by the State inventory system,

· State imposes 20% tax rate (10% sales tax and 10% excise tax)

· Restricted opening hours and No drive thru, delivery or internet sales

· Required air purification, sealed locking containers,

· 24/7 full surveillance video cameras and locked entrance,

· Restricted to customers minimum age of 21 with proof of ID

How does recreational cannabis serve the town?

The excise tax imposed on the sale of adult use marijuana revenue from cannabis supports statewide public health initiatives, public safety and law enforcement training through the Adult Use Marijuana Public Health and Safety Fund.



Adult Use Marijuana Public Health and safety fund
Under LD1195, Act to Assist Qualifying Municipalities to Defray the Costs of Opting in to Permit Adult Use Marijuana Establishments, the sales and excise tax on adult use marijuana sales is credited to the Adult Use Marijuana Public Health and Safety Fund to  provide reimbursement to a municipality for qualifying expenses incurred as a result of the municipality’s opting to permit the operation of some or all adult use marijuana establishments within the municipality. For the purposes of this paragraph, “qualifying expenses” means legal fees and costs associated with the drafting and adoption of a warrant article or the adoption or amendment of an ordinance, including the conduct of a town meeting or election, by a municipality that opted to permit the operation of some or all marijuana establishments within the municipality. Each municipality may receive funds, up to $20,000, for the reimbursement of qualifying expenses in accordance with this paragraph.

Maine Bill Gives Thousands to Cannabis-Friendly Municipalities
Revenue Sharing information from the state
Economics of Maine’s Recreational Marijuana Industry – Colby College report

Critical takeaways from the study included the following:

  • 64% of consumption estimated to come from regulated sources with 36% from illicit sources.
  • Over half (54%) of consumers who purchase from home-based caregivers do not have a medical card.
  • Strong correlation since adult-use stores have opened there is a lower proportion of illicit cannabis as a function of total cannabis consumed.

Where can we read the entire text of the Citizens’ Initiative?

The copy of the 2022 Land Use Ordinance petition is accessible here.

The copy of the 2022 Licensing Ordinance amendment petition is accessible here.

Funding provided by Tree of Life Day Spa, SalonNaturelles, Acadia School of Massage.