Christian Engel, co-owner of Ratu's Liquor and Market in Wilmington, led a petition calling for a community-wide vote on allowing retail cannabis sales in Wilmington. 

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WILMINGTON — Residents voted 173-85 in favor of allowing retail cannabis sales in Wilmington, prompting the owners of Ratu’s Liquor and Market to cheer the news.

“Now that we got the town’s approval, it’s now just basically a matter of applying for our license and getting the ball rolling on that and seeing what we need to do to the building as far as converting it for state specifications,” said Christian Engel, co-owner of Ratu’s in downtown Wilmington. “Wow, this is so surreal.”

Engel led a successful petition to bring the matter up for a town-wide vote. He said throughout the day Tuesday, supporters of the measure visited the shop saying, “Yeah, Article 20!”

“It’s just so cool,” he said.

While no one took Engel up on his offer for rides to the polls, people messaged Ratu’s for information on voting. He said the vote on retail cannabis brought about new registered voters in Wilmington.

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The town’s $2,679,221 fiscal year 2023 budget was approved 218-30 and the road budget was approved 226-23. About $260,000 from the FY21 surplus will be used to funding planning and acquisition costs associated with the Public Safety Facility.

Voters supported providing $26,792 for the Reappraisal Reserve Fund; $175,000 to for the Highway Town Road Equipment Capital Fund; $100,000 for the Bridge Capital Fund; $150,000 for the Fire Department Equipment Capital Fund; $5,000 for the Fire House Capital Fund; $20,000 for the Memorial Hall Capital Fund; $12,000 for the Library Capital Reserve Fund; $20,000 for the Town Hall Capital Fund; $20,000 for the Police Equipment Capital Fund; and $5,000 for the Transfer Station Capital Fund.

A Highway Building Capital Fund will be established, starting with a balance of $5,000. A Water Capital Fund also will be created.

The number of listers will now be three, down from five after voters approved discontinuing two of the positions.