WOOLWICH — Seagrass, a new recreational marijuana cultivation enterprise, is looking to open its first greenhouse in Woolwich, but Woolwich selectmen said want the public to weigh in before granting a permit.

Selectmen will hold a public hearing 6 p.m. Feb. 1. Residents can attend in person at the town office or virtually.

Although Woolwich is home to two medical marijuana stores on Route 1, Seagrass would be the first recreational marijuana cultivation facility.

Seagrass founders Stephen Elie and Edward Ney want to open a 4.2-acre facility at 46 Sam Moore Road. The greenhouse would be roughly 7,000 square feet and set 300 feet back from the road.

Elie said he wants to make the facility “innocuous” and “not draw attention” from the community.

“There won’t be signage or retail sales there,” he said. “Our intention is to set it back from the road and allow the natural trees to insulate it. We don’t want to attract attention to it other than the comings and goings of employees during normal business hours.”

Elie and Ney said they plan to hire three to four full-time employees and 14 to 15 part-time employees.

Elie declined to say how much marijuana the facility plans to grow, but said it would be “several hundred pounds per year” that would later be sold and delivered to licensed dispensers.

Residents voted 140-46 to allow recreational marijuana cultivation facilities in Woolwich at an August 2020 town meeting. Opponents were concerned about increased traffic and crime.

Selectman Jason Shaw said he hasn’t heard any recent opposition to this project.

“My job is to represent the townspeople and it appears that the voters support these types of businesses,” Shaw said. “This is new to the community and people may be apprehensive because of that. The pressure is on the select board to do a thorough review so this is done right.”

Elie said he believes marijuana businesses are safe the tax revenue Seagrass would bring to Woolwich could help lower taxes in the future.

“There’s no justifiable reason to be afraid of an industry that is highly regulated by both the state and municipalities,” said Elie. “It has even been deemed essential while the economy was shutting down from COVID-19.”

According to an April 3 notice from Gov. Janet Mills, medical marijuana dispensaries and caregivers were listed as essential employees, but not recreational marijuana.

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