South Berwick Town Council Chairman Jack Kareckas, with town councilor Russ Abell, left, presides over a February 2016 meeting. Credit: Deb Cram | Portsmouth Herald

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — A review of the town’s marijuana survey highlighted Tuesday’s Town Council meeting.

As presented by Councilor Mallory Cook, the survey indicated while a majority of town residents favored the legal sale of marijuana in town, most want it kept out of residential zones. A total of 1,069 residents participated in the survey Nov. 6, representing 31 percent of voters who cast ballots Election Day.

More than 60 percent of respondents wanted to see most recreational uses of marijuana — cultivation, manufacturing or testing — restricted to the town’s industrial zones. However, 59 percent of survey-takers were OK with the retail sale of marijuana in the town’s business zone.

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Results for medical marijuana were more mixed. More than 70 percent favored caregiver retail stores or registered dispensaries for the sale of marijuana in the town’s business zone. More than 60 percent wanted to see the testing and manufacturing of medical marijuana limited to the town’s industrial zone.

When asked what type of marijuana establishments they would most like to see in South Berwick, responses ranged from nearly 70 percent for medical caregiver stores and medical dispensaries to 50 percent for adult retail stores that would sell marijuana for recreational use.

“Most who took the survey did not have a tone of positivity regarding marijuana in residential zones,” Cook said, adding “In my view, the only thing on the table is marijuana in industrial zones, that could be carried forward.”

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Councilor John James said the town’s largest industrial zone — Route 236 — is near Marshwood High School, which could violate the state’s ban on marijuana sales within 1,000 feet of a school zone.

Town Manager Perry Ellsworth said the far end of Punkintown Road, which is in the industrial zone, is beyond the 1,000-foot buffer.

Nonetheless, all councilors agreed it would be unwise to do anything regarding marijuana until the state sets definitive rules on the issue.

“We can’t opt in or opt out because the state regulations are not yet clear,” Chairman Jack Kareckas said.

Ellsworth encouraged the council to consider hosting a public meeting on the survey results to obtain further resident feedback.