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County's Applicants Fail State Marijuana Dispensary Test


Nug of the Month: Aug 2008
State officials will again accept applications for a York County medical marijuana dispensary after six applicants failed to meet minimum requirements for licensure.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced July 9 the selection of three nonprofit corporations to dispense medical marijuana in six of the state's eight public heath districts. Voters in November approved the medical use of marijuana for patients certified by physicians and registered with the state.

Cathy Cobb, director of the division of licensing and regulatory services for the Department of Health and Human Services, said applicants for District 1 in York County failed to meet the minimum score of 70 required to be considered for licensing. No applicant was chosen for District 7, which includes Washington and Hancock counties.

Cobb said it was common for rejected applications to lack the level of security state officials wanted and some did not have a clear mission. Those applicants may revise and resubmit plans to the state by Aug. 20.

"We felt they needed to do a lot more work," Cobb said.

A total of 27 applicants were reviewed by a four-member panel. Cobb said applicants were scored in areas including security, access, supply, experience, staffing and education. All dispensaries must be nonprofit and pay an annual $15,000 license fee.

The top-scoring applicant in District 1 was Ahead Care of Cottage Street in Sanford, which missed the minimum score by five points. The Green Market Inc. of Saco received 45 points and an application from Maine Wellness Group of Saco was not scored.

The Northeast Patients Group was chosen to run dispensaries in District 2 (Cumberland County), District 4 (Waldo, Lincoln, Sagadahoc and Knox counties), District 5 (Somerset and Kennebec counties) and District 6 (Piscataquis and Penobscot counties).

Safe Alternatives of Fort Kent will operate the District 8 dispensary in Aroostook County and Remedy Compassion Center will run a facility in District 3, which includes Franklin, Oxford and Androscoggin counties.

Cobb, who was part of the panel that evaluated applicants, said she was impressed by the levels of security proposed for dispensaries. Plans included fences, around-the-clock security, special sensors, restricted access for employees and measures to ensure safety of patients using the dispensary, she said.

"I think the public is going to be impressed with the security," she said. "I was really surprised at the extent of the security systems. They're really very conscious about the fact the information they have is very confidential."

In addition to security, panel members evaluated the mission of each applicant, Cobb said. The panel eliminated plans that seemed to be "get rich quick schemes," she said.

Cobb said she expects 2,200 patients to be registered for medical marijuana by the second year. Patients must pay an annual registry fee of $100 ($75 if on MaineCare) and carry an ID card. An ounce of marijuana will cost $200 to $400, though the state will not regulate prices, she said.

Saco Development Director Peter Morelli said the delay in naming a York County dispensary will mean local zoning ordinance amendments will be approved before a final location is chosen by state officials.

The Saco City Council held a public hearing July 6 about proposed zoning ordinance amendments for marijuana dispensaries. No one spoke at the public hearing and the council is expected to vote on the changes July 19, Morelli said.

The proposed changes, approved May 18 by the planning board, call for dispensaries to be located in business zones. The zoning makes distinctions for dispensaries that sell medicinal marijuana and facilities that also grow marijuana. Dispensaries that grow marijuana would be located in industrial and highway zones that provide more space and fewer residents, Morelli said.

NewsHawk: Ganjarden: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: Kennebunk Post
Author: Gillian Graham
Contact: Kennebunk Post
Copyright: 2010 Kennebunk Post
Website: County's applicants fail state marijuana dispensary test
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