Highbrow owners plan to renovate their Bath location to look like their other storefronts, such as their Topsham location, shown here. After receiving approval from the city council last week, the company plans remodel the space while waiting for their state license, which could take until June or July. Photo courtesy of Highbrow

BATH — After receiving approval from the city council last week, Bath’s first recreational marijuana store has cleared its final municipal hurdle, but must wait several months to receive a state license.

Highbrow, a medical marijuana chain with locations in Topsham, Manchester and Waldoboro, is planning to open its first recreational store in Bath on Leeman Highway, next to the U.S. Cellular store. Another location in Rockland is expected to open this spring.

City councilors granted Highbrow both recreational and medical licenses because the owners hope to expand into the U.S. Cellular building next door with a medical marijuana store. Recreational and medical stores cannot occupy the same space. Each license costs $1,500 and is valid for one year.

Highbrow owners gained approval from the Bath Planning Board in January after appearing before the board three times. Board members initially denied the application because of “holes” in the plan concerning parking, landscaping and traffic flow, City Planner Ben Averill told The Times Record in November.

“We have all the green lights from the city of Bath, so we’ll be ready to open when the state of Maine gives us the thumbs up,” said Richelle Stacy, Highbrow’s business manager.

Stacy said the owners expect to open in June or July, but they’re taking the time between receiving local and state licenses to renovate the building.

“It’s a lot of work to go through the licensing process with the state,” said Stacy. “We’re all happy the state is doing their due diligence with the licensing process. They’re doing both cities and the state a service.”

The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy announced that state retail license applications were available to business owners in December 2019. As of Feb. 24, the state has received 127 applications in total, 93 of which are for  marijuana retail facilities, according to David Heidrich, director of engagement and community outreach for the offfce.

Heidrich said the office plans to issue the first conditional licenses within the next two weeks and is committed to allowing businesses to open in the spring.

Conditional licenses are one of three approvals recreational marijuana establishments must receive before they can open to the public. After receiving a conditional license, applicants must get local approval before they can circle back for an active license.

Highbrow must follow Bath’s retail rules, which require recreational and medical marijuana stores to install security measures, including 24-hour surveillance, and passers-by should not be able to smell marijuana from outside the building.

Bath’s rules also set a 500-foot buffer around schools, licensed child care facilities, public parks, substance abuse rehabilitation or treatment centers and halfway houses. No two retail stores and dispensaries can open within 300 feet of each other.

Highbrow remains the only business that has applied for a recreational marijuana retail license from Bath, Averill said. Once open, it will be Bath’s only recreational marijuana store. Wellness Connection, a medical marijuana dispensary operating in the city since before the legalization referendum, moved to South Portland at the end of November, according to the company website.


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