Interior of the Beach Boys Cannabis Company in South Portland. Most people aren’t seeing the interior of this or many other businesses, even those that remain open. Courtesy / Tom Mourmouras

SOUTH PORTLAND — The city council Tuesday approved five licenses for marijuana sales, including four that will allow businesses to sell pot for recreational use. License approval is the last significant local hurdle to clear before companies can sell recreational marijuana.

“We’re one step closer,” said Tom Mourmouras, majority owner of Beach Boys Cannabis Co., which already operates a medical marijuana dispensary at 818 Main St.

Mourmouras said he has applied for a state license to operate as a recreational dealer.

“I suspect it will still be a couple of months,” he said.

The council unanimously approved retail recreational licenses from Beach Boys, SeaWeed Company and Theory Wellness of Maine.

The council also unanimously approved applications from New England Alternative Care to operate as a medical marijuana dispensary, and Gele, a cultivator and marijuana supplier at 9 Industry Road.

Matthew Bayliss, Gele’s owner, said he already cultivates marijuana for medical dispensaries, but his current license application allows cultivation and distribution to other recreational dealers, not his own sales.

According to the city clerk’s office, including the five applying, there are seven marijuana-related companies that operate in South Portland or are awaiting permits.

When asked about the number of competing businesses applying all at once, Mourmouras said he was more concerned about competition from large corporate entities that he said have already muscled in on small businesses in other states such as Oregon and Colorado.

“I’m a little scared of big out-of-state money coming into the state,” he said.

Officially, the state has a residency requirement for recreational marijuana dealers, but according to a May 11 statement on Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy website, a legal dispute between Maine and an out-of-state corporation revealed the requirement “is subject to significant constitutional challenges and is not likely to withstand such challenges.”

The state indicated that the Maine Attorney General’s office does not intend to defend the residency requirement.

“Since being established, OMP has worked to responsibly implement the law, including the residency requirement, while developing a good-faith partnership with industry stakeholders,” Office of Marijuana PolicyDirector Erik Gundersen said in the statement. “… OMP will continue to work diligently to fulfill its obligations to the industry and public.”

Sean Murphy 780-9094

Email: [email protected]

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