Maine is a strange and quirky place. It’s why I love it, why I call it home.

One of the things that makes me smile inside is that we manage to have such an “eclectic” mix of buildings. I don’t trust places that are too perfected, too uniform, too manicured.

So I was a little sad in the heart when a few months ago I saw the tumbledown junk shop I pass on my daily commute had sold, and seemed to be in line for an overhaul.

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To be fair, I had never once, not in the many decades of driving past, gone into that shop, but I liked knowing it was there.

I never saw anyone else going in either, so it shouldn’t really have been surprising when it went up for sale and the inevitable dumpsters arrived. I try to keep a forward looking gaze and remind myself to embrace change. Clearly things were afoot, and who could tell what this new situation might bring?

The work went fast. As the lot cleared, walls got painted and new windows were installed, the family took turns guessing what was going in. Well, it might be more accurate to say I took turns guessing.


I guessed perhaps a new, more curated sort of antique store. Or maybe a bistro. Could it be a gaming store? Maybe a small office space since parking seemed tight. I went through these and many other “maybes.”

The honey only made one, and only one, guess. With a deep vein of cynicism, he pronounced, “Bet it’s a new pot shop,” and never wavered from that.

He was right. It’s a marijuana shop.

OK. So, I don’t want to sound like a prude here – sure sign I am about to sound like a prude – but  really?

Let me state for the record: I am all for safe, legal access to adult-use marijuana. I totally agree it is less dangerous than the opioids being pushed by Big Pharma and in truth, I don’t see it as a whole lot different from alcohol. As it happens, it’s not my thing, but that’s me. You should know me well enough by now to know I don’t try to force my preferences on others. It made sense to legalize it, it makes sense to decriminalize its use.

That said, I come back to… really?


It’s just that, well, this makes seven pot shops now, just within the very small radius that is my daily commute. Not even radius, straight line. From my door to work, I pass seven. That’s bonkers.

I am trying to imagine if I would feel differently if it were something that mattered to me. Seven bakeries? Seven chocolatiers? Seven bookstores catering to rare and unusual volumes? I would be in heaven, but even so, I think I would still see the absurdity in the concentration.

Is there really a deep enough client base to support all these shops? If there is, should we be worried about that?

Is it a product of the isolation we all felt during lockdown? Is it the lack of something else to do? Is it the worry over the big issues we can’t realistically change? Or am I overthinking this?

What else could come into the community, to serve us all in a different way? Is this like the book “Bowling Alone” by Robert Putnam? Would a revival of the bowling alley help?

I sincerely hope this is one of those cases where I genuinely am worrying a bit too much over something I don’t need to. Goodness knows it wouldn’t be the first time. Still, if the next little shop to go in sells gourmet tea instead, you will hear a tiny whoop of joy from me.

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