OXFORD — The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved two more marijuana business licenses Thursday night, telling opponents at a public hearing beforehand that the board has no choice because the town ordinance has no limit on the number.

Co-applicants Mark Lowe and Ryan Reed received approval for Thompson Lake Cannabis and Low Tide Terps at 43 Main St., both within a family-owned business.

“I have a concern about the number of places allowed,” resident Trish Larrivee said. “I would ask that the town table this and the Oxford PD do a study on the increasing drug problem in Oxford. We have seven (cannabis operators) on Route 26. If you tell me how many signatures you need I will collect them to change the ordinance.

Oxford residents Pat Perkins, left, and Trish Larrivee listen Thursday night as James Hamper asks questions about Oxford’s burgeoning cannabis economy during a public hearing at the Municipal Center. The board approved two more licenses, bringing the total number of businesses to nine. Nicole Carter/Advertiser Democrat

“We need to be remembered as a town for the hardworking people here, not a marijuana community,” Larrivee said. “We need our economic committee to work a little harder at bringing other businesses in. We have a real drug problem in this town.”

“It’s like the word is out that Oxford doesn’t have a limit,” Larrivee said. “Just go to Oxford and start another.”

Resident Jim Hamper asked for an explanation of the types of licenses.

Mark Lowe said the two licenses he and Reed applied for serve different purposes for their overall cannabis operations. The manufacturing license will allow them to produce and package their goods; the cultivation license allows for up to 20 plants to be grown in the facility.

State law requires separate licenses for retail stores, testing facilities, product manufacturing and four tiers of cultivation, as well as a license for each stakeholder of a marijuana business.

To the point about Oxford’s overall drug problems, Reed said cannabis use helps many people emerge from dark places, including his substance use disorder.

With the applications being properly completed and passing Oxford’s public safety and codes inspections, selectmen unanimously approved both.

“I’ve gotten several calls on how many we have here,” Selectman Floyd Thayer acknowledged. “I can’t change the rules and these people have done what’s required. There are quite a few people in town with concerns. It’s probably something we revisit in the near future.”

Board Chairman Dana Dillingham agreed. “But this has been brought to us before and there is nothing selectmen can do as far as changing the ordinance. Residents voted for it, but with complaints about the number, no one has gone through the process to try and change the ordinance.

Town Manager Adam Garland confirmed a petition would require 110 signatures of Oxford voters in order to put proposed changes to a town meeting warrant.

“I’m not sure of the time and manner when it needs to be submitted by,” Dillingham said. “It would go to the town meeting in June.”

Larrivee thanked them for the information and said she would follow up with Town Clerk Wendy Friberg for information to start a petition.

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 There are seven marijuana shops, all on Route 26, and the town ordinance has no limit on the number allowed.  Read More