The owners of Fire on Fore are all about blazing new trails.

In 2019, the shop became the first medical cannabis storefront to open in Portland’s Old Port, and following its recent conversion to the adult-use market, it’s now the first recreational shop to open in the neighborhood, too.

The transition from medical to recreational was “bittersweet” for co-owners Thomas Mourmouras and Leo Paquette, but Mourmouras said it was bound to happen.

“I would say, at some point, the medical market was going to have to look at transitioning to the adult-use side,” he said Wednesday, citing other states such as Colorado, Nevada and Oregon, where the number of medical cannabis cardholders declined once recreational cannabis was legalized.

Wellness Connection of Maine recently converted its Portland medical dispensary into an adult-use storefront, and Atlantic Farms, another Portland dispensary, is in the process of doing the same, according to the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy’s licensing dashboard.

While switching from medical to recreational was never expressly the plan, it was “always in the back of our heads,” Mourmouras said.

Now that it has made the change, business has been booming, he said, helped along this past weekend by an airplane the pair rented for flyover advertising for Labor Day weekend.

According to Mourmouras, on an average day as a medical storefront, the business might have served 150 customers. Now, operating as an adult-use store, it routinely serves between 350 and 450 customers each day.

The menu is still only a fraction of what Mourmouras hopes it will be, but so far, smokable flower, pre-rolls and edibles (gummies especially) have been popular. As more cultivators and manufacturers come online, he hopes to be able to bring prices, which he said are already competitive, down further.

Mourmouras said he hopes to see other local companies like his, owned and operated by Mainers, succeed in the state and in Portland, especially after recent lawsuits that successfully challenged Maine’s in-state residency requirement for cannabis businesses, opening up both the medical and adult-use markets to out-of-state companies.

“We wrote ourselves into the history books,” he said. “That’s something we hold our hat to. We have no intention of going anywhere.” 

Mourmouras has been directing medical patients to Fire on Fore’s sister store, Beach Boys Cannabis. He owns the store’s South Portland location, and the family-owned chain has two other stores, in Portland and Old Orchard Beach. Beach Boys plans to remain medical for the foreseeable future.

Fire on Fore is one of at least 16 recreational cannabis shops that have opened in Maine’s largest city since its launch in March – five months after the statewide market launched and more than two years after local officials first started work on the ordinance.

Maine’s recreational market has brought in $48.9 million in revenue since launching in October. Sales have been increasing month over month, with just over $10 million in sales in August. Cash from the more than 133,000 sales transactions generated more than $1 million in state sales tax revenue last month alone.

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