Pubdate: Thu, 24 Jun 2010
Source: Bangor Daily News (ME)
Copyright: 2010 Bangor Daily News Inc.
Author: Nok-Noi Ricker


Hermon Possible Site For Plant Cultivation

BREWER, Maine - A California marijuana dispensary operator approached
the city last week about opening a medical marijuana clinic in Brewer
near CancerCare of Maine and is talking to neighboring Hermon about a
cultivation facility, officials in those communities confirmed on Wednesday.

"The company is applying for the Penquis region dispensary and, if
successful, would like to possibly locate it in Brewer," D'arcy
Main-Boyington, Brewer's economic development director, said in a June
15 memo to City Manager Steve Bost. "They are interested in one of the
[Brewer Economic Development Corp.]-owned lots out on Dirigo Drive"
near CancerCare of Maine and the offices of Eastern Maine Healthcare

Matt Hawes, who is a principal in California-based Berkeley Patients
Group and the newly formed Maine-based Northeast Patients Group, told
Main-Boyington that company officials also are looking at locations in
Bangor and Hermon.

"He told me that the town of Hermon has already said that they would
welcome his business and that although he preferred a location in
Brewer over Hermon, he would not want to locate here unless the
population was in support of his business because he was not looking
for a fight," her e-mail states.

Main-Boyington was unavailable for comment on Wednesday. Attempts to
reach Hawes also were unsuccessful.

Hermon Town Manager Clint Deschene said Wednesday that the town has
been approached about establishing a growing plant in the town's
industrial zone, which includes U.S. Route 2 and the Cold Brook Road.

"It's not a dispensary, but a cultivation facility" or warehouse used
for packaging, he said.

The business would be allowed to move to town only "if they put in an
application and have a permit" from the state, Deschene said.

"We work with businesses the best we can," he said. "We're willing to
work with them."

Brewer city councilors enacted a six-month marijuana clinic moratorium
in December, then amended it in January. Earlier this month an extra
180 days was added, which extends the Brewer ban until the end of the

Bangor enacted a six-month moratorium on marijuana clinics in May that
lasts until October. Hermon has no ban.

Officials in Bangor and Brewer are using the time to create new land
use codes regarding rules for operating potential marijuana clinics.

No one has approached Brewer's planning office about opening a
marijuana clinic, Code Enforcement Officer Rodney Butler said Wednesday.

Maine voters first approved the use of medical marijuana in 1999. The
law allows people suffering from certain medical ailments, such as
cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis, to use marijuana, to possess up
to 2 1/2 ounces of the drug and to grow up to six plants.

Maine voters endorsed a referendum in November 2009 that expands the
law to include more medical conditions and allow medical marijuana
patients or their caregivers to legally buy marijuana from nonprofit,
government-sanctioned dispensaries.

In April, state legislators approved a bill that allows up to eight
medical marijuana dispensaries statewide and creates a state-run
registry system for patients and caregivers who legally can possess
the drug. Patients must register with the state by the first of the
year to use the drug legally.

Friday at 2 p.m. is the deadline for would-be operators of the eight
medical marijuana dispensaries to file applications with the Maine
Department of Health and Human Services. The application fee is $15,000.

Permits will be granted to the applicant with the highest score based
on a point system that considers more than a dozen detailed criteria,
including security and quality-control plans and the strength of the
application's long-term business plan.

DHHS plans to announce their eight selected operators on July 9, which
means clinics could open later this year.

Paul Sevigny, a retired Bangor pharmacist, and Brewer City Councilor
Joseph Ferris each contacted Main-Boyington to say "they thought the
[California] business was highly reputable," her e-mail to Bost states.

Ferris said Wednesday that he spoke with officials from Berkeley
Patients Group and "I . put them in touch with the development office"
in Brewer.

What Brewer's new land use codes regarding marijuana clinics will look
like and whether the California-based group is going to be one of
those selected by the state to open a regional dispensary remain to be
seen, he said. 
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