Retail cannabis vote proposed in Wilmington | Local news

WILMINGTON – A liquor store and local market have called on residents to sign a petition to trigger a community-wide vote to allow cannabis retail in town.

“It’s official!” Ratu’s Liquor and Market announced via Facebook. “We are looking for our CANNABIS license! “

The first step, Ratu said, is to receive the warning for the city’s annual meeting in March. The store‘s goal is to get the signatures of 90 registered voters in Wilmington.

City Clerk Therese Lounsbury confirmed the petition started circulating on Wednesday.

“They are collecting signatures,” she said. “They need 5% of the electoral population, so they need 82 signatures.”

Christian Engel, co-owner of Ratu’s Liquor and Market, predicts he will have all the necessary signatures by the weekend. By 2:15 p.m. Thursday, he was around 60 plus what he called an “overwhelming response” on social media.

“I know it will be financially beneficial for the community,” he said, but he also looks forward to being able to “give people this plant, which is not – not to sound out of date – but magic of the root at the top. For what it offers people, it is more than just a plant. It is a drug just like CBD. We are really proud of our bedside attitude and we will replicate that when cannabis will come. ”

Most of Ratu’s CBD or cannabidiol customers are older people who didn’t want to get involved in cannabis, Engel said. He described spending time talking and educating older customers about the product, which he touts as life changing for himself.

Engel noted that the store is not near churches or schools. He wants to be mindful when renovating the back of the building and said he’s in talks with the local Deerfield Valley Community Partnership prevention coalition about what they don’t want to see from cannabis retailers.

The plan, Engel said, is to invest in a good ventilation system “so that the store and the city don’t smell like fresh, damp buds” and so customers can shop for shoes or clothes without smelling cannabis.

Brattleboro, Jamaica and Londonderry have already approved cannabis retail sales. These sales are expected to begin in October 2022.

Engel called Vermont’s new source of income “incredible.” He suggested the additional funds could be used to help end hunger and homelessness, noting that Wilmington has a 1% local options sales tax dedicated to economic and community development projects.

Since purchasing the Horizon Inn on Route 9 in Wilmington with his wife Jennifer Betit-Engel late last year, Engel estimated that 60 to 70 locals had asked him if they could rent a long term bedroom. Participating in the Lions Club, the couple have only seen food insecurity worsen over the years.

Rep. John Gannon, D-Windham-6, who is also vice chairman of the Wilmington Select Board, said he was happy to see the couple take a legal approach by launching a petition.

“I think it’s up to the voters whether they think it’s appropriate or not,” he said.

After meeting with the owners of the Ratu to discuss the prospect and perusing the store to get a feel for how the operation works, Gannon said he thinks it is good that they understand how a business works. regulated since they operated a liquor store.

“I think it’s good that they are taking the lead on this rather than someone who doesn’t have the regulatory knowledge that they have because it’s going to be heavily regulated,” he said. ” They succeeded. They are attached to the city. It’s good to see a company arrive that has no attachment to the city.

Gannon said Betit-Engel and Engel are having children, so it’s sure they understand the need for collateral as well.

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