Maine will announce on Friday which of seventeen applicants will get the eight dispensary slots as part of the state’s medical marijuana law.
The prospective dispensaries said they will charge anywhere from $200 to $400 an ounce for medicinal cannabis, reports John Richardson at the Waterville Morning Sentinel. The state has not set any limits on prices, but said it is “reviewing” the pricing information as part of the application process.
Many of the shops will also provide massage, acupuncture and yoga as extra services, the Morning Sentinel reports. One plans to organize knitting and quilting groups. Another wants to hire a pastry chef to turn marijuana into gourmet organic edibles.
While the Maine medical marijuana market is untested, since there have been no state-licensed dispensaries until now, most prospective dispensary owners said they expect to sell at least $1 million worth of cannabis in the first full year of operation, starting July 1, 2011.
Some estimates for yearly sales range as high as $18 million.
Seventeen groups have made their pitches to operate the state’s first nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries. A copy of each application was opened for an initial inspection by the media Wednesday afternoon, providing the first look at where the dispensaries may operate and how much money they could make.
The announcement will be made Friday by Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services on which of the applicants will be rewarded the first dispensary licenses. The state’s new medical marijuana dispensary law was passed by voters as an addition to the original law, which legalized medical marijuana but did not provide a framework for safe access.
The law allows for eight dispensaries scattered across Maine. Some groups have submitted applications for more than one district.
The state said it may not issue all eight licenses, if the applications in each district don’t meet requirements for serving patients, protecting public safety and other scoring standards.
“This is new for everybody, and I think we’ve learned a lot, said Catherine Cobb, director of licensing for the department and one of four members on the state’s official review panel.
Most applicants say they would be in full operation this fall; some say they would start providing marijuana on a small scale within a few months. Some applicants are already growing marijuana as patients and caregivers.
Some applicants said they would grow marijuana at the dispensary site, while others would have separate growing operations in more rural parts of the state.
Maine state law allows each patient to buy up to 2.5 ounces every 10 days, although most patients aren’t expected to buy that much.
Note: the following TV news report says there are 29 applicants, compared to the 17 reported by the Morning Sentinel.