State receives 19 more applications for medical marijuana dispensaries

Posted Aug. 20, 2010, at 9:41 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — By the time Friday’s deadline arrived, the state had received 19 new applications to operate medical marijuana dispensaries in the Down East region and York County, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday in a news release.

Maine voters paved the way for the medical marijuana dispensaries in a referendum last November.

By a wide margin, voters approved a system of regulated marijuana dispensaries for patients with specific medical conditions.

State officials determined they would permit one such facility in each of Maine’s eight public health districts. The first round of applications, which ended in June, drew more than a dozen applications.

So far, six dispensaries have been licensed and are slated to open this winter in or near Portland, Augusta, Bangor, Auburn, Thomaston and Fort Kent.

The state, however, has yet to issue dispensary licenses for York County and the Down East region, which includes Hancock and Washington counties, because no applicant met the state’s minimum scoring threshold.

To that end, the state reopened the application process for the final two licenses last month.

State regulators said that a four-member panel will review and score each application based on the criteria outlined in the Open Application Instructions for Dispensaries.

Applicants must address a variety of topics, including the plan to operate as a nonprofit corporation in the long term, convenience of location, prior business experience, patient education, record keeping, inventory, quality control, security and staffing.

The new law allows the growing sites to have six plants under cultivation for each registered patient.

The Portland Press Herald contributed to this report.

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