Supporters of the failed Bar Harbor Marijuana Initiative want it reversed on the ballot in November

A Bar Harbor group that tried to gain voter approval for two marijuana retail stores to open in town isn’t taking no for an answer.

Although voters rejected the citizens’ initiative at the polls earlier this month, the group is already collecting signatures as part of a new campaign to allow the retail sale of marijuana in town.

Love ME Cannabis, a prospective marijuana company backed by a local spa that launched the first initiative, wants to get another citizens’ initiative ahead of voters in the November election.

On June 14, the initial effort failed by a vote of 804 to 615.

If the initiative is passed and accepted, the company could potentially open Hancock County’s second marijuana retail store.

The new citizen petition is reduced from the one that was rejected. The new petition would limit them to five retail neighborhoods, including downtown, instead of the 26 different zoning neighborhoods originally proposed, according to city planner Michèle Gagnon.

Phil Payne, managing director of the Tree of Life Day Spa and one of the people behind the campaign, said he was also responding to concerns about an ordinance governing both zoning and licensing regulations in them. dividing into separate articles.

The sale of recreational marijuana is legal in Maine, but municipal voters must vote to “register.” Stores were slow to open both statewide and in Hancock County.

As of last fall, more than 90% of towns in Maine still did not allow the sale of recreational marijuana, and there is only one retail store — Meristem in Southwest Harbor — in the county. of Hancock. Most of the county still does not allow recreational sales, including Ellsworth, the area’s population center.

Efforts like these don’t have to be done by citizens’ initiative, and cities can come up with ordinances to allow retail. But Bar Harbor officials haven’t come forward with their own proposed ordinances for the stores, and City Councilwoman Jill Goldthwait said she wouldn’t personally support the idea.

Goldthwait says she struggled to justify allowing sales in Bar Harbor if the state receives all tax revenue, but the city is responsible for enforcing any new regulations. She was also concerned that it would have negative effects on the city center. She also thinks it’s not necessary, because people who wanted to could buy cannabis on the other side of Mount Desert Island.

“You can go to the southwest,” she said. “It’s not like we deny people the opportunity.”

But Payne thinks the sales could benefit the city. In 2016, 59% of Bar Harbor voters voted in favor of legalizing recreational cannabis statewide.

He hoped that the larger number of voters who usually turn out at the polls for a general election could make a difference if the new petitions in Bar Harbor are passed.

“We think in November the crowds will come out and support the language,” Payne said.

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