The Highbrow medical marijuana storefront in Topsham. The company hopes to open a recreational marijuana store in Bath in March. Photo courtesy of Highbrow

Bath’s first recreational marijuana store is one step closer to opening.

Highbrow, a marijuana chain with locations in Topsham, Manchester, Rockland and Waldoboro, is planning to open a recreational marijuana store on the southbound side of Route 1 in Bath near the Bath Shopping Center and next to the U.S. Cellular store.

The Bath planning board granted the store a conditional certificate of occupancy last week. According to Bath Planner Ben Averill, the owners have to finalize the certificate with the city’s code enforcement officer and complete the landscaping.

“We still have the final stages of approval at the state level prior to opening, however, we have the required paperwork ready and anticipate completing this process and to open our doors in the month of March,” Highbrow Business Manager Richelle Stacy wrote in an email to The Times Record. “We appreciate all of the support from the city of Bath and are excited to open the doors and become a contributing member of the city.”

Highbrow sells cannabis, CBD products and edibles in its other locations, according to the company’s website. Company representatives did not return requests for comment Tuesday about what its Bath location will sell.

According to the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy, Highbrow holds a conditional state license. After receiving a conditional license, applicants must get local approval before they can circle back for an active license.

Bath has not returned a local authorization form for Highbrow to the state, according to David Heidrich, director of engagement and community outreach for the office. Averill said the city hasn’t yet received a local authorization form from Highbrow.

Once the state receives Highbrow’s local authorization form, the process for gaining an active license can begin, said Heidrich.

“Depending on the nature of changes, if any, made to the underlying application since obtaining a conditional license and the outcome of a pre-licensure security inspection conducted by Office of Marijuana Policy, the process to obtain an active license can take as few as two weeks,” said Heidrich.

Once cleared to open, Highbrow will need to follow Bath’s retail rules for medical and recreational marijuana stores. Stores are required 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.

Port City Relief, another marijuana chain with locations in Portland, Scarborough and Old Orchard Beach, is hoping to open a recreational marijuana store in the Gulf gas station about 500 feet down the road from Highbrow.

According to the proposed plan, the store will be split into two sections and the gas pumps will remain functional. One section of the store will have an area where customers of any age can enter to pay for gas if they’re paying with cash. The other section of the store, separated by a door, will house the recreational marijuana store, which is only accessible to people ages 21 and older.

The planning board approved the proposed site plan earlier this year, but the application for a local license hasn’t gone before the city council yet. The business’s state license application wasn’t in the state’s online database yet as of Tuesday.

Averill said the city hasn’t received any other applications for recreational marijuana stores as of Tuesday.

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