Couple awarded license to open marijuana dispensary here

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The vacant new building next to Dexter Supply on Route 2 in East Wilton is where the Smales will be opening a medicinal marijuana dispensary by the end of the year.

EAST WILTON – A Vienna couple whose plans include opening a dispensary in a two-story building on Route 2, has been selected by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to receive one of eight medical cannabis dispensary licenses in the state.

Timothy and Jennifer Smale’s Remedy Compassion Center received the highest score for their application to manage a dispensary in District 3, which includes the counties of Franklin, Androscoggin and Oxford. The license will allow for growing and dispensing prepared marijuana to registered patients under the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act overwhelmingly passed by voters last November.

“It’s a dream come true,” Tim Smale said today. “We’re honored and excited,” Jennifer Smale added. The Smales received a phone call at 9:15 this morning from Catherine Cobb, director of the state’s Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services, who told them their application was the number one pick of six applicants vying for the District 3 dispensary location.

Cobb said today the Smale’s application scored well in their ability to demonstrate an extensive knowledge of operating a nonprofit, staff needs, record keeping and product quality control.

“They also had a good description of a security system; we thought the access was good and the experience needed to run a dispensary,” Cobb said.

Tim Smale, executive director and Jennifer Smale, patient services director of Remedy Compassion Center.

“We told her (Cobb) that we hope to make her proud; it’s a great responsibility,” Smale said. The couple hope to open up the dispensary by the beginning of December and will eventually hire a staff of 12-15 people. That number could increase over time to 20 to 25 people employed for the dispensary’s operation, administrative staff, security, delivery, cultivating the marijuana, packaging and processing the medicine.

“We hope to hire talented, qualified people locally,” Smale said.

Part of Remedy Compassion Center’s high-scoring extensive application included a complete security plan including video cameras with offsite file storage, door and glass-break alarms, bright outside lighting, motion detectors, biometric fingerprint door locks, vaults and safes, and onsite security staff.

“We want patients and caregivers to feel as comfortable buying cannabis as they would buying aspirin at the local pharmacy,” Smale said.

Overall, three non-profit corporations for six of eight districts were selected by receiving high enough scores to dispense marijuana. A dispensary system has been established by DHHS to assist registered patients whose physicians believe they will benefit from the medical use of marijuana for certain serious medical conditions.

Patients suffering from a variety of conditions, who get a written recommendation from their doctor, can participate in the program and use an identification card to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana at a dispensary. Alternately, they can purchase seeds and grow up to six plants. 

A total of 27 applications were reviewed by a four-member panel. They were scored based on criteria outlined in the application instructions, including their plan to operate as a non-profit corporation long-term, convenience of location, prior business experience, patient education, record-keeping, inventory, and quality control.

Those who obtained the highest scores in their districts and met the required minimum score of 70 were chosen. In District 1 (York County) and District 7 (Washington, Hancock counties), applicants all scored below the 70-point minimum so the application process will be reopened in those districts, according to the state’s Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services Web site.

The Smale’s application scored a 91, while the Northeast Patients Group came in second with 78 points. Interestingly, Northeast Patients Group did received the highest scores in four other districts for dispensaries to be located in Portland, Thomaston, Waterville and Hermon. The only other applicant from Franklin County, Ahead Care, came in fourth with 64 points for its District 3 application.

Ahead Care applicant Lucas Sirois of Farmington, and business-partners Chad Crandall, Alisa Sirois and Mike Danforth, received conditional approval from the Wilton Planning Board on June 3 to open a dispensary in the same building on Wilton Road as did the Smales.

Ahead Care also submitted two other applications for dispensaries in Farmingdale and Sanford, Districts 5 and 1. Its District 1 application scored the highest at 65 of five total applicants.

Alisa Sirios said today they are looking at modifying their application for a better score and reapplying for District 1 and possibly District 7 as well. Two areas they scored low in were nonprofit experience and dispensary work experience. Sirois said that’s tough because they’ve never left the state to gain marijuana dispensary experience.

The news their applications didn’t make it was tough after all the work that went into the application process.

The guys are devastated,” Sirios said today of Ahead Care’s partners. The deadline to reapply is Aug. 20. Sirois noted that most likely all the other applicants that weren’t chosen will be looking to reapply for the two districts still open, making the competition even tougher.

Remedy Compassion Center, however, scored the highest when it came to nonprofit and dispensary work experiences, staffing and record keeping.

The Smales worked for seven years for the nonprofit Independent Glass Association which is a trade organization that represents automotive glass and building materials shops. They also left Maine last August to gain experience working at medicinal marijuana dispensaries in California for seven months in the hope that Maine’s voters would pass the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act.

Wanting to open as soon as possible, the Smales need to get various building permits such as a plumbing and electrical inspections and fulfill the state’s licensing requirements. Among those requirements is that any marijuana dispensed must first be grown from seed, which Smale said takes three to four months for plants to reach maturity.

The location of District 3’s dispensary in a rural area of the state is somewhat of a surprise. Cobb said the Smale’s would have scored a little higher if they’d proposed opening a dispensary in an area closer to a larger population base, such as in the Lewiston-Auburn area, as one of the applicants proposed.

“But we felt with one dispensary opening in Portland, 30 minutes from Lewiston and another opening in Augusta, 35 minutes from Lewiston, a dispensary was needed in other areas of the state,” she said.

Tim Smale said it “was a bit of a gamble” to submit one application for a location in Wilton. “We knew there would be more (dispensaries) in southern Maine and chose this area because it is more remote,” he said. He added they wanted to make it more convenient for patients in western Maine to get the medicine they need by not having to drive as far.    

The Smales have first-hand knowledge of the medicinal benefits of marijuana. Tim Smale suffers from severe migraines which, if it weren’t for marijuana use, would leave him unable to function.

“Cannabis has given us our life back. Maybe we can have a part in helping other folks with debilitating medical conditions have a better quality of life too, without the shame and hassles we’ve had to go through trying to get a medicine that works,” he said.

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  1. Wow, some people in Maine got a job, and a lot of people from California got jobs. $400.00 an oz. ? Hows that help sick folks ? The only competition is the black market. Nice going Augusta, you almost created a monopoly for people from California. I know, more than 4 out of 6 would have been too odvious, at least for the lawyer working for the state on the medical marijuana task force that now has a nice “non profit” job. 8 locations, unfair application, (experience needed in a place where that is impossible) and a very expensive “point” system. DHHS is more corrupt than any cartel.
    California votes to legalize, tax, & regulate Marijuana in November. Then other states will be like dogs on a hot day panting for that money. Just legalize it.

  2. So if an OZ is gonna be $400, what will seeds cost? sounds cheaper to grow your own


  4. Now hang on. Is there a good reason that medical marijuana can’t be handled by, you know, real pharmacies? Having some couple growing pot in their back yard and handing it out to “sick” people (while helping themselves to it, I’m sure) is sketchy at absolute best.

    Seriously, if we want marijuana treated as a medical drug, why are we treating it as a street drug?

  5. Caleb, you have it! It can’t be too hard or dangerous because pharmacies handle way more difficult and dangerous drugs. Odd, huh?

  6. I’m sure that there is a large pool of experienced potential employees in the area to staff their clinic.

  7. What I’d like to know is how much did everyone smoke before they came up with those numbers for prices….Is MaineCare going to cover it….we sure have a LONG way to go yet before this is a cost feasible treatment.

  8. Wow, some people in Maine got a job, and a lot of people from California got jobs. $400.00 an oz. ? Hows that help sick folks ? The only competition is the black market. Nice going Augusta, you almost created a monopoly for people from California. I know, more than 4 out of 6 would have been too odvious, at least for the lawyer working for the state on the medical marijuana task force that now has a nice “non profit” job. 8 locations, unfair application, (experience needed in a place where that is impossible) and a very expensive “point” system. DHHS is more corrupt than any cartel. California votes to legalize, tax, & regulate Marijuana in November. Then other states will be like dogs on a hot day panting for that money. Just legalize it.

  9. Did they run “Reefer Madness” on late night cable recently?

    I’ve even heard “shock” that MaineCare might pay for marijuana – tax monies being used so “a person too lazy to work can get high on a Friday night.” I have no idea if MaineCare will pay. I kind of doubt it because federal funds are involved, but if it is, so what? It’s not for recreational use. It’s to ease nausea that’s a result of the drugs taken for cancer. You can’t run to your doc to get an Rx just to get high, any more than you can run to him to get a prescription for a narcotic like Percocet or Vicodin.

    Please, put your brain in gear before putting you mouth in motion. Just because you heard an ill-informed rant at the local convenience store doesn’t mean it’s true.

  10. just google phoenix tears movie and get yourself informed about the benefits of hemp oil with curing diseases before you doubters make comments. I am really glad to see some people will legally be able to have some relief without relying on poisonous medications that corporate america wants to make money from. Unfortunately i don’t think hemp oil will be at the dispensory but it is a step in the right direction.

  11. Hey, as a fella who deals with chronic pain on a daily basis I think med. mary J is a great thing! It’s all natural and beats the heck out of putting harsh chemicals from pills in your system. Now, if I could just figure out how to get a scrip. for a spliff!

  12. just my 2 cents, but let people grow their own but throw anyone trafficking it in jail for a long time and take all their stuff. Let them grow like .what. 10 plants? Is this enough for a family of 4? :)) Like peytor said, the dhhs is more screwed up than any cartel. Keep the state out of it, let people grow a little themselves, no black market needed, no drug wars, no helicopters. Just the usual law enforcement for the few who will try to cash in on growing a field full of the stuff, which might not work, cause everyone can grow their own. Maybe a rope factory coming to a town soon???

  13. Guess I won’t be shopping at Dexters. They own the building to be used for pot selling. Thus I assume Dexters favors such behaviour. Too bad. It was a nice place to shop. I would think that any others who shop at Dexters agree with pot selling.

  14. Um… for the person who was upset at $400 an oz and said people will turn elsewhere or to the black market. it IS $400 an oz on the black market. And this will be better and more pure. Not to mention that since it is for medicinal purposes – over time they can pair down strains to find ones with more pain alleviating qualities and less paranoia and “fun” qualities. Also, if you are not smoking it… rather baking it or vaping it… a $400 oz. can go a long way. Thats great for the patient.

    Legalize it? I’m all for it… but do you really see that happening soon?

    And Eric, do you expect pharmacies to grow it? Drug companies won’t – not enough profit. It need some form of regulation or cancer patients might end up with some funky stuff. This grow house and “pharmacy” will be highly regulated and very secure. This isn’t in someone’s back yard… and a prescription is still needed.

    Also… Caleb when it comes to experience – this is an occasion where someone could and SHOULD have experience. Not with growing weed… but with government regulations, security, and running a clean non-profit company.

    I myself am hopeful about the venture. I hope patients out there that have trouble with other anti-nauseants and pain killers find this as a helpful alternative.

  15. Medical Marijuana will NOT be paid for by MaineCare. Dexter ‘s did not decide the law, the voters did. The town of Wilton approved it. Do you also plan to boycott the town of Wilton ? Please use your time to get edcucated instead of speading lies. Reefer Madness days are over. As a vet you may want to check out the success Medical marijuana has had treating PTSD.

  16. I am amazed that the Wilton site won ahead of Andro. & Oxford. Welcome to the neighborhood. Please spend a lot of time on your security system! If you don’t think this place is a good idea, you should have voted against it. It is too late to complain now. (No, I don’t smoke it, but if sick people can be helped by it, then good for them!!)

  17. Hey Mr Vet!!!
    I have a building sale. Also, I am a conservative republican, as I bet you claim to be. Therefore I am pro business.Maine people voted overwhelmingly for this business, right or wrong, making it completely legal. I will not discriminate against any business going into that building as long as it doesn’t compete with me. You are very narrow minded if you are going to mix up my 2×4’s with that dangerous plant called Mary J!! (I have heard feeders from the plant grow at night and strangle innocent babies.) Pretty sure I heard that at the convenience store. Speaking of the convenience store, I bet you won’t see the men in sleeveless T-shirts buying a case of Bud in preparation for a good wife beating shopping at the dispensary.
    Oh, and just for the record, I have smoked, even inhaled, and very much enjoyed!! Cheers!!

  18. After checking the Maine Care site…I found that it pays for legitimate prescriptions if written by Doctors. Thus it will pay for pot prescriptions. Or should I say WE the foolish taxpayer will pay for the pot. There are plenty of soft hearted Docs out there that will write the script for pot. WE the taxpayer will also get the privilege of paying for transportation of pot heads who have no transportation. WE the taxpayer will be supporting drug habits. Aren’t you glad you voted the law in? Maine should be proud of slapping the face of all opposed of the law.

  19. A vet. So you just don’t understant that it is Medical Marijuana for sick people. That makes it as legal as Rite-Aid. Rite -Aid sells Oxycontin, synthetic Heroin. No problems with Maine paying for that though right ? I am, as a taxpayer, proud I voted this law in so very sick people can get a safe remedy. You Sir, did not get slapped in the face,..you lost. It’s done. Medical Marijuana has been legal in Maine since 1998. The sad thing is that it took this long for patients to legally obtain their medicine. I hope you never need it but if you or someone you love gets cancer you’ll be lookin for some fine buds. Maine gets Federal funding. States have made Marijuana legal, the Federal government has not. MaineCare will NOT pay for Medical Marijuana. Hopefully someday it will.

  20. great news maine actually creating jobs!!!!!! so are they growin there own smoke? im so glad for the folks that need it,, can i get a job with you folks in the quality control department ? hey i just thought of something else? is this going to put an end to growing dope on state park lands?? its a good folks just think of the tax revnue it will create,look what the lotterry did for maine .

  21. Mr. Vet,

    I will increase my shopping at Dexter Supply now, thanks for letting me know that they are a concerned business who is in favor of good businesses and jobs here in the local area. So funny that people who are concerned with only certain kinds of commerce. If you don’t want to do it, don’t do it but leave the people who want to alone, they’re not hurting you. That’s freedom, man….

  22. 400 oz is not bad. I pay 73.99 for FLUTICASONE ..SPRAY. (nasal spray) my ins will not pay for it—.If you don’t want it don’t take it..

  23. Mr. Dexter GOOD FOR YOU!!!!! I am proud of your comment. The problem with the naysayers is severe lack of knowledge. A Vet- You fought for our freedoms, so why now if the freedom doesn’t fit your view must you jump to the other side of the fence. It is true that rite-aid sells (with a prescription) oxycontin, percocet, and vicodin, and then a lot of those sick people sell their pills for a price to drug dealers, who then in turn jack up the price more to make a profit (while many living off the state) and then people get high from abusing it. So is medical marijuana worse or essentially the same, without the chance of an overdose of course? And for those of you who do not know the current “black market street prices” of marijuana I will educate you for the purpose of debates and nothing more:
    1 oz. depending on the quality is $150-$600 (higher end being in city’s such as NYC, boston)
    half ounce is $75 to $325
    one eighth is $20-$50 (people won’t sell less than a half oz. if the eighth price comes to more than $50)
    In Maine the “commercial price” for marijuana is between $150-$400 per ounce (quality dependant).
    I just got sick of people putting numbers on here that were inaccurate and would mis-lead people. As for the medical costs i have no true knowledge. Labels are that Labels. Truth is Truth.
    Beatles said it best “Let It Be”

  24. Phew, I need to do something to calm down after reading a few of these comments. It blows my mind to think some folks can be so ignorant yet think they know “so much” about something they don’t even know anything about. I feel bad for MR. VET, if he or any members of his family ever get any of the illnesses and/or diseases that people have. They finally will be able to get their natural medicine without the harsh chemical that are in Vic’s, Ocy’s, Perk’s, etc. for alleviating pain. Mr. Vet reminds me of one of the thousands who get the big “$2.50/month MaineCare cost for 120 Oxycondins” and then turn around and sell each one for $30.00 each, or more, some even get 80mg. Pretty good income – 120 pills a month for $2.50, sell for between $30.-$80 each – anywheres from $300. to $960 – FOR PROFIT, even. Those people who do that must be afraid us folks who puff a little weed for our diseases will take our money from them and purchase Mary J. Guess what? We are not druggies and that is why we need medical marijuana so NOT to have to put our precious bodies thru the harsh chemicals. So no worry about us. If anyone would like to know what the law is, each and every detail of it, I have it printed out to show folks and it is all there on http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/dlrs/mmm/index.shtml. Any info about Medicinal Marijuana Laws and Dispensaries is available there. By the way, doctors do not PRESCRIBE marijuana, they recommend it. Then, we who have the recommendations, have to fill out applications for a card, along with $100.00 a year fee (Oops, Maine Care people only have to pay $75.00) and then hope we get a “card” to be able to purchase it legally at a legal business. I am so proud of the Dexters for accepting this in their building (being a landlord is often tough, I know) and am also so proud of the Smales for helping provide the proper medicine for those who need it.
    One more thing, thank you, Mr. Vet, for not injesting in marijuana, it leaves more available for me!!!!!

  25. Thanks Kelly, Caleb and Realistic you all had some well educated points!
    The folks who are opposed are just scared because it has always been an illegal substance. The people of Maine are not forcing the use of marijuana on anyone but it is a wonderful thing for those who need it. As I previously stated, it makes a heck of alot more sense to put something natural in your system than all these chemicals (pills) that all the doctors and such are ‘pushing’.
    Don’t worry Dexter’s I really don’t think this will affect business…. Beats Ham n’ Eggs Lumber Co.

  26. In all accuality, this is FREE advertising for Dexter Supply. Thanks again Kelly and the Smales!

  27. Mark,

    What makes you think I am a Mr.?

    And finally a question for the Town of Wilton……will the pot store pay taxes to the Town or State?

  28. I’m embarrassed!! I shouldn’t assume either that a vet is a man. Many great women risk their lives for our country. However, in my defense, women on average don’t say such stupid crap!

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