AUGUSTA – Maine’s largest licensed operator of medical marijuana dispensaries has signed a deal for new financing that it says will enable it to open its first dispensary in “a couple weeks.”

Wellness and Pain Management Connection LLC will lend Northeast Patients Group $1.6 million over eight years at 8.5 percent annual interest, according to documents provided to the Kennebec Journal by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

A database search for Wellness and Pain Management Connection LLC showed that the company was formed in Delaware on Wednesday, the day the agreement with Northeast was finalized.

The collective is composed of The Farmacy, based in West Hollywood, Calif., and Cuttino Mobley, a former NBA and Maine Central Institute basketball player, according to state documents.

JoAnna LaForce is the owner and co-founder of The Farmacy, which operates a chain of marijuana dispensaries in California.

According to the term sheet released Thursday, LaForce will “oversee and support delivery of certain consulting and related services.”

Northeast’s Executive Director Rebecca DeKeuster said Thursday that The Farmacy “came to us in the fall after seeing our applications, and we formed a very strong relationship.”

Mobley, who signed a letter of intent with Northeast in February, was widely thought to be the sole financier helping Northeast get its struggling operation off the ground. That letter outlined a much harsher agreement — a $2 million loan to Northeast over seven years, paid back at 18 percent interest per year.

Northeast, which holds licenses to operate four of Maine’s eight approved marijuana dispensaries, including three in Portland, Bangor and Augusta, says the new money will help it open its first dispensary, in Thomaston, “within weeks.”

The plan must stand up to a review by the DHHS. Catherine Cobb, director of the department’s Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services, has said her office doesn’t object to out-of-state funding.

However, the new deal calls into question whether Northeast Patients Group is now a substantially different organization from the one whose application landed it half of the state’s medical marijuana market.

John Martins, a spokesman for the DHHS, said the agreement will be evaluated “as it pertains to the rules” outlined in statute, but the review process wouldn’t stop Northeast from opening dispensaries.

He said the review would focus on the state’s mandate that dispensary operators have a “mission of being a nonprofit.”

DeKeuster said all four of Northeast’s dispensaries are expected to open this year, starting with Thomaston in “a couple weeks.”

DeKeuster said leases are in the works for properties in Portland, Kennebec County and the Bangor area.

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Michael Shepherd can be contacted at 621-5662 or at:

[email protected]