Medical marijuana dispensary has open house in Hallowell facility

The Associated Press
Posted Jan. 10, 2012, at 5:35 a.m.

HALLOWELL, Maine — The Wellness Connection of Maine, a licensed medical marijuana dispensary, held an open house Tuesday at its newly renovated Water Street space.

Wellness Connection of Maine is a licensed, state-regulated, nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary, one of eight the state approved for qualified patients nearly two years ago. Wellness Connection has state approval to operate four dispensaries. In addition to the Hallowell facility, it operates a dispensary in Thomaston and soon will open facilities in Portland and Brewer.

Becky DeKeuster said in a press release the Hallowell facility on the second floor at 115 Water St. recently began accepting patients. Under existing law, Maine’s medical marijuana patients are allowed to designate one dispensary to provide medicine.

“We’re very proud of this beautiful facility,” DeKeuster said in the release. “It’s just how we envisioned it. It is a welcoming, peaceful and restful place where I hope our patients will feel the same.

“Our main focus is to provide our patients with the highest quality, affordable medical cannabis available,” DeKeuster said. “And in this beautiful setting, we will encourage patients to talk with other patients, to connect with others who are in similar situations. Isolation, loneliness and despair are too often a part of serious illness. We don’t want that for our patients. We will connect our patients to other wellness services and local medical facilities and together we will work to improve the quality of their lives.”

Only patients or their caregivers who designate the Hallowell dispensary to provide their medicine are allowed access to the facilities.

DeKeuster said in the release there is extensive security in the clinic and around the Water Street property. All patients must comply with strict dispensary rules, including an agreement not to loiter on the property, not to display the medicine outside the facility, never to divert their medicine, and always to respect the neighboring businesses and residences.

The “typical” medical marijuana patient in Maine is estimated to be between 40 and 50 years old, which is reflective of the state’s population, Wellness indicated in its release. State law requires patients to possess a valid physician’s recommendation on tamperproof paper. Physicians may recommend medical marijuana to patients who are suffering from one or more of a very specific list of conditions for which this medicine can be recommended under Maine state law.

“I understand that some people question the merit of medical marijuana and others question the wisdom of locating a dispensary within our city limits,” Hallowell Mayor Charlotte Warren said in the release

Warren wanted neighborhood residents to know she has met with Wellness Connection of Maine board members, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, the Hallowell Police Department and DeKeuster about safety issues.

For information about the Hallowell dispensary, call 358-8833 or visit

www.mainewellness.org.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/01/10/health/hallowell-medical-marijuana-dispensary-opens/ printed on July 24, 2014