The planning board approved the master plans for Theory Wellness of Maine, LLC, a recreational and medical marijuana retail store to place a location at 198 Maine Mall Road. Brandon Pollock, CEO of the company, said that proper licensing needs to first be obtained. Photo courtesy of South Portland Planning Board

SOUTH PORTLAND — As the market in Maine opens for cannabis-related products, Theory Wellness of Maine LLC, is looking at South Portland for its future location.

Brandon Pollock, CEO of Theory Wellness, went in front of the South Portland Planning Board on Oct. 23, with a revised plan to convert the space on 198 Maine Mall Road into a medical and recreational marijuana retail store.

The space would be in the building of the former Dress Barn at the Mall Side Plaza.

The planning board approved the modified site plan 5-1, despite concerns some members had about the parking lot and traffic issues in the shopping plaza.

Theory Wellness has two locations in Massachusetts, said Pollock, each receiving a substantial amount of business as the competition in the industry is currently minimal.

“I’m appreciative of the city’s pretty comprehensible ordinance for cannabis,” he said. “I’ve been in the cannabis industry for six years, both recreational and medical. We’ve seen about 150,000 unique customers in our business, no issues with public safety.”

Pollock walked the board through the proposed floor plan, noting that no one under the age of 21 would be allowed to enter the building, and three identification checks would take place for each customer.

Pollock said that all product would be grown and cultivated in Maine, as per state regulations.

Linda Boudreau, who voted against the motion, said that she felt that the traffic issue was big enough to warrant a condition that Pollock modify the lot and signage to allow a safer traffic flow.

Pollock said that this would be a difficult modification, as Theory Wellness of Maine would only be tenants at the property and not the owners.

Edward J. Kelleher, attorney at Drummon

Woodsum, said that Theory Wellness should not have an impact on traffic safety and would therefore not need any such condition for approval.

“Our owner and security plans are based on the experience the owner has with the Massachusetts locations,” said Kelleher. “There’s no evidence that the users are impacting traffic. We’re also a tenant at that property. I’m not sure that we would have the power to do that. So I think unless there is evidence that it’s our customers causing traffic and safety problems, that condition be removed.”

Planning board member Mary DeRose asked if there could be a way for the city to reach out to the property owner in order to address the lot concerns.

“I feel for the applicant,” said planning board member Michael Taylor. “If I were moving a business into a shopping center, and the planning board was telling me, ‘Oh, you need to restripe the whole parking lot and put in signage and repave and reconstruct the road and all that,’ I’d be like, ‘Um, OK, I’m not going to move my business here.’”

Boudreau said that the board almost never had a chance to meet with the landlord about these types of issues, which made it harder to fix traffic and safety concerns.

Catherine Bart can be reached at [email protected] or 780-9029.

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