August 21, 2010

Nineteen applicants seek two medical pot licenses

Most of the new bids seek to open a York County marijuana dispensary; the others are for Down East.

By John Richardson jrichardson@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

The state has received 19 more applications to operate medical marijuana dispensaries, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Six dispensaries have already been licensed and are expected to open this winter in or near Portland, Augusta, Bangor, Auburn, Thomaston and Fort Kent.

No licenses have been issued yet for dispensaries in the two remaining districts: York County and the Down East region.

The state re-opened the application process for the final two licenses last month because none of the original submissions met the department’s criteria, officials said. The latest application deadline was Friday afternoon.

While state officials said they received a total of 19 new applications, they released information about only 17. Of those, 10 are applications for the York County license.

Some potential operators, such as Maine Wellness Group, are making their second bid for the York County license. Others are first-time applicants, such as Alleviations and Maine Organic Farmacy.

One applicant for York County, the Remedy Compassion Center, is seeking a second state license. It is already working to open the dispensary in the Auburn area.

A panel of four people will review and score each application based on criteria including operating plans, convenience of location, business experience, patient education, record-keeping, inventory, quality control, security and staffing.

Groups selected for the two licenses will be announced by the end of this month.

The dispensaries are required to incorporate as nonprofits and can sell marijuana, in smokable or edible form, to registered patients. Registered patients have to have a qualifying illness, such as cancer or glaucoma, and a written doctor’s recommendation to use the drug.

Staff Writer John Richardson can be contacted at 791-6324 or at: jrichardson@pressherald.com

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