AUGUSTA – The group awarded four of the six medical marijuana dispensary licenses statewide hasn’t yet decided whether to locate its central Maine facility in Augusta or Waterville — a decision complicated by zoning, a planned new hospital and a proposed highway ramp.

Rebecca DeKeuster, executive director of Northeast Patients Group, said she’ll work closely with city leaders and the state Department of Health and Human Services to choose a location.

Northeast has identified 13 Water St. in Waterville — an old Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant — and 10 Middle Road, Augusta, a vacant building that’s for sale, as the two possible locations.

“Augusta’s zoning asks dispensaries to go into a medical zone, which is fairly limited,” DeKeuster said. “We’re not sure we can find one that meets the zoning requirements.”

The proposed Augusta location is not far from the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care and the site of a proposed new hospital that would serve central Maine. The state is seeking federal money to build a highway ramp to service the area.

DeKeuster said she’ll have a better idea of which location makes the most sense after a meeting with DHHS this month.

The group expects to open its central Maine location in November. It anticipates $702,130 in revenue the first full year of operation and $1.5 million the second full year, according to its application on file with the state.

The average price of marijuana sold by the group will be $340 per ounce. State law allows certified patients to access up to 2.5 ounces every other week Northeast plans to offer discounts to veterans and low income patients.

In central Maine, the group expects to serve 175 registered patients within the first year.

When it comes to staffing, the dispensary is expected to employ three people at the end of the first year, with an average salary of $36,974.

Tim Dysart of Dysarts Service in Bangor said his company has offered to rent some warehouse space to Northeast. And Sen. Joe Perry, D-Bangor, wrote a letter to DHHS in support of Northeast and its head of growing operations, Matt Hawes.

“I will attest to Matt’s high integrity, passion and knowledge of medical marijuana cultivation techniques,” Perry wrote. “Any business which is affiliated with Matt Hawes will be an asset to the community.”

Augusta City Manager Bill Bridgeo said the City Council voted recently to restrict dispensaries to a designated medical zone. That zone currently exists around the cancer center, and may be expanded pending consideration of the Planning Board at a July 27 meeting.

The city of Waterville wrote a letter confirming that the 13 Water St. location is appropriate for a dispensary. 

MaineToday Media State House Reporter Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at:

[email protected]