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Wilton officials discuss potentially illegal marijuana grow sites

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WILTON – The Wilton select board met on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. During public comment, a Wilton resident broached the topic of illegal marijuana grows in Wilton, reporting that there is one in his neighborhood. He asked the board if there was any current plan of action.

Chairwoman Tiffany Maiuri explained the situation: three locations in Wilton have been reported as grow sites. Their legality is currently unclear. The Code Enforcement officer is in the process of checking on the status. Town Manager Maria Greeley informed him that this issue has recently been brought to her attention. “We’ve notified the code enforcement and we’ve also notified the Wilton police department,” she said.

Wilton Chief of Police Ethan Kyes was at the meeting and was able to speak on the issue. He shared that he has spoken with the Attorney General’s office and learned that the District Attorney’s office will not be involved with any marijuana-related crimes. He mentioned that the Attorney General’s office will be producing a training on how to handle these situations in the future.

“As of right now, the laws in Maine are really hands-off with marijuana,” Chief Kyes said. “Our DA’s office will not touch it.”

The board agreed to discuss this issue at a later meeting when there have been updates to report on.

Later, Greeley reported that she received a resignation letter from Frank Donald, director of Parks and Recreation. His resignation will be effective February 2, 2024, giving the town time to plan for his replacement. Greeley thanked him for his service on behalf of the town of Wilton.

Donald emphasized that he wants to make the transition to a new director as smooth as possible and he is willing to stick around in order to do so. “I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “I’m a phone call away.”

He recalled his first year as director, remembering that the person who had the position before him stayed on for the first summer. He plans to do the same.

Chairwoman Maiuri thanked Donald for his years of service on behalf of the select board: “You really have been the lifeblood of the Rec.”

The board discussed the COPS Hiring Grant with Chief Kyes at length, ultimately deciding unanimously to accept it. The grant provides funds to hire a career law enforcement officer at an entry-level salary with a $125,000 maximum. This amount would cover 75% of the officers salary over 36 months. Chief Kyes explained that the town would then be responsible for an additional 12 months, after which they can reapply for the grant.

This is a similar grant to the one recently received by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.

“Ever since COVID’s hit, everywhere has seen a huge increase in crime” Chief Kyes said, explaining the importance in hiring another officer for the Wilton force.

A workshop was scheduled before the meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss broadband internet with representatives from CCI. The workshop was canceled due to scheduling conflicts. The board decided to reschedule the workshop for 5 p.m. next week, on Nov. 28.

This meeting was recorded by Mt. Blue TV and is available for viewing online at MtBlueTV.org

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