Sean Bastin, who wants to open a retail cannabis store in Old Orchard Beach, opposes a referendum that would limit marijuana retail stores to 1,000 square feet or less. He says it would give a competitor an unfair advantage. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Old Orchard Beach residents are set to decide whether to further restrict the one recreational marijuana store that will be allowed to open in the small seaside town best known for its iconic pier and downtown souvenir shops.

But some say the prime aim of the man who pushed for the referendum to limit the size of that one store, saying he wanted to prevent marijuana “mega stores,” is to win the sole adult-use marijuana license and kick the others who want it out of the running.

The town already decided to relegate the single adult-use pot shot to the outskirts of town, away from its most popular tourist attractions. But the referendum question on the June 13 ballot would restrict the store to a building of less than 1,000 square feet on a half-acre of property.

Thomas Mourmouras, a resident and cannabis business owner pushing for the restrictions, has applied to open a store on the only property in town that would meet that new criteria. Sean Bastin, who hopes to open a store on Ocean Park Road, says the referendum question is really Mourmouras’ attempt to limit competition for the license.

In the weeks leading up to the vote, the two sides have been lobbing accusations back and forth: Mourmouras claims the town rules were written to favor Bastin’s company. Bastin says Mourmouras is circulating false and misleading information about him.

It’s been three years since residents voted to allow recreational marijuana sales and still no shop has been able to open because the town did not start the application process until this spring.


The town originally planned to award the license before the June referendum, but Mourmouras and Priscilla Rowell sued the town, ensuring residents would have a chance to vote on Question 1.

Tom Mourmouras, president of Exit 710 LLC, sued the town of Old Orchard Beach so residents could vote on his referendum before the Town Council awards its sole license for a recreational marijuana shop. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Mourmouras, who is president of Beach Boys Cannabis Co. and Exit 710 LLC, said he is asking residents to vote yes on Question 1 because “the overwhelming response is that they want to see a small store and want people from here who care about this community.”

Bastin says the campaign has misrepresented why they want to restrict the size of businesses.

“Question 1 is simply not about keeping out mega stores,” he said. “I believe the question is designed to limit any competition.”

The town planning department told the council that it would be difficult to interpret how to apply the size limits and that it is concerned the petition would allow only one property to meet the criteria for a marijuana store.



Under Maine law, recreational marijuana stores can operate only in towns that opt in to the state’s adult-use program, and those towns have the power to limit the number of stores and require a local business license.

The Old Orchard Beach Town Council chose to only allow one store and restricted the possible locations to 22 properties in two areas outside of downtown. It then spent two years developing rules and deciding how to award the license.

Initially, the town planned to use a first-come, first-served method but later decided to use a merit-based system similar to the one used in Portland. Councilor Larry Mead, who opposes Question 1, said he supported the merit-based system because other municipalities have faced legal challenges for using different methods.

Public participation in the rule-making process was largely limited to people interested in opening a business, with very little input from other residents, Mead said. Town staff received suggestions for criteria from multiple people, including attorneys for both Mourmouras and Bastin.

Mead said the council chose a set of criteria he believes is neutral.

Mourmouras said he believes the town planner did not disclose that some of the recommended criteria came from Hannah King, an attorney for Bastin and his business partner, Andrew Keeley.


King said they participated in the council process just as Mourmouras and others did.

“Ultimately, the council adopted a matrix that was a combination of what the public and staff recommended,” she said.

The town accepted applications for the business license during a one-week period in March. It received three applications, all for stores smaller than 1,000 square feet, Mead said. The town’s criteria awards points for stores under that size.

Mourmouras applied for a license to open a store in a stand-alone building that is less than 1,000 square feet.

Bastin and Keeley, operating as Old Orchard Provisions LLC, applied for a license to open a store in a two-story building on Ocean Park Road. It would have a sales floor of less than 1,000 square feet, far from the large-scale marijuana business described in Mourmouras’ lawsuit, King said.



Leading up to the June 13 election, Yes on 1 has focused its message on stopping its competitors from opening a 4,000-square-foot “mega store” in town. Mourmouras said the applicants behind Old Orchard Provisions don’t have connections to Old Orchard Beach and has said repeatedly that Bastin has a criminal background.

Bastin, who lives in Falmouth and plans to move to a house he bought in Old Orchard Beach, said the store he would like to open is within a 3,800-square-foot building, but most of that space would be used by the building owner for other purposes.

Bastin is not a convicted felon. He said those claims amount to defamation and his attorneys have sent the campaign cease and desist letters. He does not have a criminal record in Maine, according to a check through the Maine State Bureau of Identification.

Bastin passed the state background check required to open marijuana businesses and is licensed to operate several types of marijuana businesses in Maine. He also passed a stricter background check in Portland that would have disqualified him from opening his business there if he had a misdemeanor drug conviction punishable by a year or more in jail, King said.

Still, Mourmouras said he stands by his claims because “the people of this town should know who is behind the other application.”

“We tried to keep the campaign simple. If you want to vote for local, you vote yes on one. If you want to vote for small business, then yes on one,” Mourmouras said. “We’re proposing a boutique. They’re proposing a mega store.”

Mead, the town councilor, said he doesn’t think the intent behind the referendum has been ethical or transparent.

“It’s about giving an unfair advantage to one property and one business to get a property of one,” he said.

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