A York County Superior Court judge has temporarily stopped Old Orchard Beach from issuing a license for an adult-use marijuana store until voters weigh in on a referendum initiative that could limit the size of cannabis businesses in town.

Thomas Mourmouras, president of Exit 710 LLC, and resident Priscilla Rowell sued the town in February, alleging officials stalled the referendum vote while councilors changed the ordinance to favor a competing business.

Tom Mourmouras, president of Exit 710 LLC, is suing the town of Old Orchard Beach over its rules on recreational marijuana business licenses. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

In an order last week, Justice Richard Mulhern said the town will experience minimal harm by delaying its licensing decision until after the June vote, but moving forward with it before then would make the vote “effectively meaningless.”

“I am relieved that Judge Mulhern decided as he did,” Mourmouras said in a statement. “The right of citizens to petition the government is fundamental, and the court affirmed that. If folks in Old Orchard Beach want marijuana stores to be small and discreet, we should be able to make our feelings known loud and clear.”

Old Orchard Beach officials declined a request to speak about Mulhern’s order and said the town does not comment on ongoing litigation.

Mourmouras and Rowell allege that the town illegally changed its ordinance to award the sole license using merit-based criteria rather than the first come-first serve process the town originally adopted.


Mourmouras, who owns Beach Boys Cannabis Company medical marijuana dispensary and wants to open an adult-use store in Old Orchard Beach, believes the merit-based criteria were intentionally set up to favor a competitor, Old Orchard Provisions LLC.

Meanwhile, Rowell submitted a citizen’s petition last fall signed by 603 residents seeking to limit the size of the stores to 1,000 square feet on lots under a half-acre. The council voted in December not to adopt the petition and scheduled a referendum on the question for June 13.

In January, the council voted to move to the merit-based system. Three businesses applied for the license during the town’s week-long application period in March.


Mulhern has dismissed two of the lawsuit’s claims: one that asked him to determine the election should have been scheduled within 30 days of the public hearing on the petition, and another that the town’s actions deprived them of their constitutional rights.

But Mulhern is still considering the plaintiffs’ claim that the council’s amendments are invalid and unenforceable because they were developed to favor a particular applicant and that the decision to hold the election in June was an abuse of discretion that violated the town charter.


The plaintiffs claim “it is certain” that Mourmouras and Exit 710 will be excluded from the adult-use marijuana market and would experience irreparable harm if the amendments are allowed to stand. The town argues that Exit 710 was not guaranteed a marijuana business license, which Mulhern agreed with in his order.

But Mulhern did determine that Rowell would face irreparable harm if the license is issued because she wants to restrict the size of marijuana businesses and followed the town’s procedures to get the referendum on the ballot. The town likely abused its authority when it scheduled a referendum for a date that “makes the vote effectively meaningless” because it would come after the town’s review of license applications, he said.

Delaying the licensing decision until after the town vote will cause the town minimal harm, Mulhern said, noting that the delay is “relatively insignificant” considering residents originally voted in favor of an adult-use marijuana ordinance in 2020. He also said it is in the public interest to ensure that the 603 residents who signed Rowell’s petition are given “a meaningful opportunity to enact their desired size restrictions.”


Attorney Hannah King, who represents Old Orchard Provisions LLC, said she and her clients have no position on the preliminary injunction, but are concerned about information circulating in town and misrepresentations of the plans that owners Andrew Keeley and Sean Bastin have developed for a store on Ocean Park Road.

Keeley and Bastin own multiple medical marijuana businesses in Maine, live locally and have connections to Old Orchard Beach, she said. They applied for a business license to open a store in a two-story building with a retail sales floor of less than 1,000 square feet. The store would be far from the “large-scale marijuana business” described by plaintiffs in the lawsuit, King said.

King said the referendum is an abuse of the citizen petition process because it would limit the size of the property so much that only one property – the one where Mourmouras wants to open a store – would qualify if the referendum is approved by voters, she said.

“I really want people to understand what they’re voting on,” King said. “It’s not whether to have marijuana or not, but whether only one piece of property would qualify for the marijuana retail store in town.

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