The Bath Cannabis Company owners plan to renovate a structure on the corner of Middle and Commercial streets in downtown Bath. Photo courtesy of David Matero

A new medical marijuana store is looking to open in downtown Bath within a mile of the city’s two existing recreational dispensaries.

The Bath Planning Board on Tuesday unanimously granted site plan approval for Bath Cannabis Company, owned by Alex Greenlaw and Patrick Wiley, to open a medical marijuana dispensary at 735 Middle St.

The pair told the board they plan to renovate the existing 1,000-square-foot structure, which is sitting vacant on the corner of Middle and Commercial streets.

Wiley, a licensed caregiver of about six years, said he’s excited to both spruce up the building to match the surrounding area and give his “hundreds of patients in the Midcoast” a brick-and-mortar dispensary. He said his patients use medical marijuana to to treat a variety of diseases and conditions such as anxiety, cancer, seizure disorders and opioid addiction.

“We’re two local guys from the Bath community and we thought this would be a good opportunity,” said Greenlaw. “We’re both excited to start this new venture and we’re looking forward to helping the community.”

Greenlaw said the pair plan to open to the public on July 1.

There were no public comments during the planning board meeting Tuesday.

As one of the state’s over 3,000 licensed caregivers, according to the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy, Wiley is allowed to open a medical marijuana store without going through a separate state licensing process for the store itself. However, Bath requires medical marijuana store owners to obtain a local license before opening.

Bath’s retail rules also require recreational and medical marijuana stores to install security measures, including 24-hour surveillance, and passers-by shouldn’t be able to smell marijuana from outside the building.

According to Greenlaw and Wiley’s application, the store is located more than 500 feet from schools, childcare facilities, substance use rehabilitation or treatment centers and city parks — meeting municipality requirements. The new store will also be within a mile of Bath’s two current recreational dispensaries along Route 1, but is more than 300 feet from the other stores.

Highbrow — a marijuana store chain with locations in Topsham, Rockland, Manchester and Waldoboro — opened a recreational marijuana storefront at 137 Leeman Highway earlier this year.

Bath’s planning board also granted approval to Port City Relief this year — a marijuana retail chain with locations in Portland, Scarborough and Old Orchard Beach — to open a recreational marijuana store at 115 Leeman Highway, just a few doors down from Highbrow. Leeman Highway makes up a portion of Route 1.

Bath City Planner Ben Averill said the city didn’t put a limit on how many marijuana stores could open within the city when it outlined rules allowing medical and recreational marijuana establishments.

“We determined that, due to the limited zones marijuana retail operations were allowed to open, between those and the buffer requirements, there would be only a finite amount of space for them to open,” Averill said. “It didn’t make sense to have a specific limit.”

Averill said the city’s planning office has not received any other applications for marijuana operations.

Maine voted to legalize medical marijuana in 2009, and dispensaries opened to provide medical-grade cannabis to people with chronic and debilitating illnesses to patients who have a prescribed medical marijuana card.

After Mainers voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016, the state required each municipality to draft and approve their own regulations for recreational marijuana use and business.

Bath, Brunswick, Woolwich and Bowdoinham opted in, permitting any recreational cannabis businesses. In Topsham and Georgetown, recreational marijuana growing, manufacturing and testing are permitted, but retail stores aren’t allowed.

Nearby West Bath, Phippsburg and Wiscasset haven’t given any recreational marijuana businesses the green light. However, Phippsburg voters may opt into allowing one or more types of recreational marijuana businesses at the annual town meeting next month.


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