YORK, Maine — Kittery Town Councilor Cyrus Clark has filed an application with the town of York to operate a medical marijuana dispensary at Meadowbrook Plaza, with the goal of opening the facility by January 2020 if all goes as planned.
The proposed dispensary would be governed by the state’s revised medical marijuana law that went into effect in December. The York dispensary plans promulgated by Clark’s company, CC Agriculture LLC, will have to pass muster by both the town and state before it can open.
Clark received what appeared to be a warm reception from some members of the Planning Board during a “sketch plan,” or initial appearance recently. The bigger hurdle is likely to be with the state, which will be releasing only six new medical marijuana dispensary licenses for all of Maine. Currently, there are eight dispensaries in Maine; the closest to York is in Biddeford.
Plans call for the dispensary to be in a now-vacant space tucked into a corner of Meadowbrook. The facility will “provide the town of York and the surrounding communities with safe, tested, behind-the-counter medicine,” Clark said during his Planning Board appearance. “We will ensure that only qualifying patients with proper state ID will have access, while simultaneously blocking out black market actors.”
Clark is a medical marijuana caregiver and his cultivation facility is in Wells, where he leases space in a building owned by the company Springer LLC, which offers six cultivation rooms for caregivers, according to Code Enforcement Officer Jodine Adams.
Clark said in a later interview that he has “not made a final determination with regard to the location of the dispensary cultivation facility” — the place where the medical marijuana sold at the dispensary will be grown. He thus leaves open the possibility that a facility other than his own in Wells may be tapped.
However, he is clear that although state law allows for marijuana products to be manufactured for medical use at a dispensary, “we will not be applying for and have no intention of locating the cultivation component of a registered dispensary in York.”
The town of York currently has an additional proviso in its medical marijuana ordinance. Only one dispensary is allowed in York, only on Route 1, and it has to be run by a nonprofit organization. Changes proposed to the ordinance for the November ballot would remove the nonprofit requirement. Clark said if the final plans are approved by the Planning Board, “we will take all steps necessary to ensure that the entity operating the dispensary meets both local and state regulatory criteria.”
Under the rules promulgated by the state, Clark told the Planning Board, he needs the town’s “express permission” to allow the dispensary — in other words its approval of the plans — before he can apply for one of those six additional licenses. York’s Land Use Technician Heather Ross said the board could grant preliminary and final approval of the plans at the same meeting. At this point, she said, the meeting is tentatively set for Aug. 22, and will include a public hearing.
Anthony Eugenio of Grow Free Consulting, CC Agriculture LLC compliance officer, said the dispensary can be expected to see between 25 to 50 patients a day. “As far as regular retail goes, that’s probably on the low end of what that plaza sees. The Dollar Tree sees a couple of hundred people on a slow day, so we will definitely be less than that.”
Several Planning Board members said they were supportive of the plan. “This is very much needed in our society,” Pete Smith said. “People with certain illnesses can benefit from this kind of medicine.”
Chair Al Cotton said his 52-year-old nephew died several months ago, “and for the last four months he made it by with medical marijuana.”
Clark said if the Planning Board approves the plans, his company will apply for one of the six dispensary licenses. The state has 60 to 90 days to review the application. “The state license process is very thorough and arduous. It is my promise to the board that no construction or operations of any manner would commence until full and completed licensing by the state and local boards. We are committed to working in lockstep with the town of York.”