STARKS — Residents of the community that came to symbolize the marijuana legalization movement in Maine 20 years ago will vote by referendum Friday on a proposed ordinance that would ban retail marijuana sales and social clubs.
Voters also will be asked to approve a proclamation establishing Indigenous Peoples Day to replace the observance of Columbus Day in town.
Starks — home of the first Hempstock pro-pot festival in 1994 — will hold its Town Meeting beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday in the Starks Community Center on Anson Road.
Voting on two referendum questions and balloting for elected officials is scheduled from noon to 8 p.m. Friday at the same location. Joseph Hayden is seeking re-election to the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Assessors unopposed on the ballot. Town Treasurer Erin Norton also is unopposed for re-election.
If approved, the ordinance prohibiting retail marijuana establishments and retail marijuana social clubs would not restrict use of recreational marijuana as allowed by statewide referendum in November, but it would prohibit the retail or wholesale sale of marijuana in the town.
The proposed ordinance would not affect the lawful use, possession or conduct spelled out under the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act.
The Planning Board is proposing the ordinance because residents at last year’s Town Meeting passed a moratorium, 62-28, that prevented marijuana facilities from setting up shop in Starks for 180 days.
Starks residents also voted against the legalization of recreational marijuana in the November election, 185-167.
“This is one of the more ironic things about life,” First Selectman Paul Frederick said. “We’re giving the community a chance to vote on it. This marijuana thing has split the town since its origin.”
Planners also said residents need to express their intent as to regulating retail and wholesale distribution of