Pot dispensary site selected in Ellsworth

Posted Feb. 17, 2011, at 9:48 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — The company tapped to run a medical marijuana dispensary Down East has selected a site on Bucksport Road for the new business.

Maine Organic Therapy plans to open the dispensary on land owned by Steven and Athanasia Joy. The 1.25-acre lot is located on Carriage Road which runs parallel to Bucksport Road (Route 1) just west of Christian Ridge Road.

Steven Joy has applied to the city’s planning board for a major conditional use permit to construct the 1,201-square-foot building in the city’s commercial-light industrial zone. The planning board will review the application at its regular meeting on March 2.

During a yearlong moratorium in 2010, city planners developed ordinance changes that govern the siting and licensing of medical marijuana dispensaries. The new rules allow a medical marijuana dispensary in the commercial-light industrial, or CLI, and Industrial 1 zones in the city, which include areas on Bangor Road, Bucksport Road and Route 1 beyond the Triangle.

Those rules went into effect Jan. 1.

Maine Organic Therapy is the nonprofit company designated by the state to operate a medical marijuana dispensary in District 7, which encompasses Washington and Hancock counties. Joy, who is a local Realtor, said company officials worked with several local agents to find a suitable site.

“There are some parameters for the building — it couldn’t be a duplex, it had to be a stand-alone building,” Joy said Thursday. “There wasn’t very much available. That’s why they’re building.”

Other building requirements include lighting, Joy said. It has to be well-lighted, so there will be lights all around the building and the parking lot. There has to be a monitoring system with cameras in most of the rooms and on the exterior of the building. The windows need to be smaller than normal so it won’t be easy to gain access to the facility through them, Joy said.

There will be little of the product stored on the site. The company will grow its own product at a growing facility in Biddeford. According to the company website, the dispensary will offer as many as 11 varieties of medical marijuana.

“We offer a wide variety of products, recognizing that various strains and varietals have unique properties and effects on patients,” the company notes on its site.

Representatives of the company could not be reached for comment Thursday, but Joy said that, based on information filed with the state, Maine Organic Therapy expects to have 400 patients this year and expects that to grow to 700 patients within three years.

Joy said he already has begun working on the building site, but added that with the winter weather, work has been slow. He said he expects the building to be ready for Maine Organic Therapy to begin operations sometime in May. The company will have to obtain a city license for the business before it can open.

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