Topham is pumping the brakes after a medical marijuana distributor asked for an increase in the number of licenses for medical marijuana stores.

The select board’s delay comes almost two weeks after the town received a request from medical marijuana distributor Ryan Holmes.

Currently, the town has licenses for two medical marijuana stores, but there are more than a dozen delivery services that serve the town.

Holmes, owner of Sundog Caregiving, which delivers medical marijuana across southern, Midcoast and central Maine, said his business is limited by its delivery-only service and that he believed it was time for Topsham to increase the number of licenses available for marijuana shops. Concerns about the industry including a rise in illegal activity, multiple storefronts popping up and exposure to children have been unfounded, he argued.

“After a few years, the industry as a whole has developed into something we couldn’t have anticipated,” Holmes said, adding that marijuana is now one of Maine’s top cash crops.

“I do not think that additional storefronts will hinder other businesses either,” Holmes said. “There is room for growth in the industry as it grows bigger and requires more. Just like gas stations and grocery stores, it falls into that category to meet the needs of our growing community.”


Resident Jenna Godo, however, told the council she is concerned about youth access and the “increased normalization of another substance,” and urged the board to be cautious. “Changing things now is a risky and slippery slope,” Godo said.

Board member Ruth Lyons agreed that the town should slow its approach and advocated waiting another year before considering more licenses.

Maine voted to legalize medical marijuana in a 1999 referendum and voted to establish a distribution system in 2010. The state’s first medical marijuana dispensaries began operating in 2011.

The number of licensed medical marijuana caregivers in Maine has ticked upward from 575 to more than 3,000 in 2021, according to the state’s Office of Marijuana Policy. During that same period, the number of registered caregivers increased from 11 to 86 in Sagadahoc County, where Topsham is located.

According to the department’s 2020 annual report, the number of registered caregivers increased 17 percent, from 2,596 in 2019 to 3,046 in 2020, while the number of employees/assistants for caregivers increased 129 percent, from 1,883 in 2019 to 4,317 in 2020.

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