This office building at right, located at 700 Broadway in South Portland, will house a medical marijuana retail facility called Elevate Maine. Courtesy / City of South Portland

SOUTH PORTLAND — Despite having serious reservations, the Planning Board last week approved a new medical marijuana retail store at 700 Broadway, with the majority arguing the application meets the letter of the law for city and state rules.

Board member Linda Boudreau opposed the project, but it was mostly due to what she called site constraints that could not be overcome, from limited parking to lack of easy access for emergency response vehicles.

She, Planning Director Tex Haeuser and board member William Laidley also had concerns about security and asked a lot of questions about how the site would be guarded. According to Community Planner Justin Barker, a security plan filed with the Police Department provides adequate safety measures.

Sean Wyatt, owner of Elevate Maine, said he wants to open a medical marijuana storefront to better showcase his product. Wyatt spoke at the Dec. 11 Planning Board meeting in South Portland. Courtesy / City of South Portland

Boudreau said the site simply isn’t compatible with the type of use proposed, particularly since there is a separate residential unit on the top floor.

“This is not an ideal situation in my mind. This is not what I would wish for,” she said. “There are just too many hurdles that can’t be overcome for this particular business.”

There was no public comment at the Dec. 11 Planning Board meeting, and the building owner, local realtor Steve Chicoine, said he has no concerns about his property being used for medical marijuana sales.

Sean Wyatt owns New England Alternative Care, which will oversee the medical marijuana storefront under the moniker Elevate Maine. Wyatt told board members that until now his business has mostly provided delivery services, but now he wants to branch out into retail.

He sees the South Portland storefront as a great way to “showcase our product and increase our visibility,” Wyatt said.

Elevate Maine is the second medical marijuana retail shop to receive city approval. In addition, the board also approved a medical marijuana grow operation this past spring.

Wyatt said strong odor control measures will be put into place, exterior lighting will be added and there will be some interior renovations made to the building, which is located next to the Crystal Clean Car Wash and not too far from the police station on Anthoine Street.

The 1,000-square-foot space will include a sales floor and reception area on the first floor, along with product storage in the basement area. Wyatt said all of his product will be “completely sealed and pre-packaged.”

Unlike a recreational marijuana facility, which is open to the general public, Wyatt said his customers will only gain access to the product by first presenting a valid Maine ID and a current certificate for medical cannabis.

Maine has allowed prescribing and limited possession of medical marijuana since 1999 and was the fifth state in the country to adopt such measures, according to legislative records. A 2016 referendum made recreational marijuana legal for adult use.

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