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Safe Harbor Maine is expected to open early next year in Biddeford, becoming New England’s first medical marijuana dispensary.

​Until two weeks ago, it appeared that Rhode Island would open New England’s first marijuana dispensary. Now it looks as if Maine will be doing the honors.

One of the two will be the first state in New England to open a compassion center to sell cannabis to patients registered in state-authorized programs.

“It appears our neighbor to the north will beat Rhode Island to the punch,” concedes W. Zachary Malinowski of The Providence Journal.
A spokesman for the Maine Health Department said the first of eight dispensaries across the state should open for business soon after January 1, 2011. Licenses have been awarded over the past two months to operate dispensaries in each of the state’s eight public health districts, according to the Health Department’s Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services.
Safe Harbor Maine Inc., a nonprofit organization, hopes to be the first to open early next year in Biddeford, Maine, not far from the New Hampshire state line. The business will probably serve fewer than 100 patients in the first year, according to Glenn Peterson, Safe Harbor’s CEO.

Graphic: Reality Catcher

​Maine’s medical marijuana program took a big step towards safe access for patients Friday, with the announcement of three licensed, non-profit corporations to grow and sell marijuana.

Northeast Patients Group, a recently formed corporation with roots in California, was selected to establish four of the eight approved dispensaries. The nonprofit organization will establish facilities in Portland, Thomaston, the Augusta area and the Bangor area, reports Meg Haskell at Bangor Daily News.
Aroostook County will be served by Safe Alternatives for Fort Kent, and western Maine will be served by the Remedy Compassion Center.
With 27 separate applications to start one dispensary in each of Maine’s eight public health districts, the state approved only six. According to state officials, the criteria for approval included applicants’ experience and proposed plans for record keeping, inventory control, security and patient education.
No applicant was approved for the districts that serve York County and Washington and Hancock counties., said applications for these regions failed to meet the state’s dispensary standards.

Photo: Opposing Views

​Medical marijuana patients in Maine soon won’t have to go very far for their doctor-recommended and legally protected medicine. The state will announce the locations of eight regional dispensaries in July, reports Charles McMahon at

Earlier this month, the state started accepting applications from nonprofit corporations to become dispensaries under Maine’s Medical Use of Marijuana Act. The Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services (DLRS) in the Department of Health and Human Services will be in charge of the selection process.
The state will only allow eight dispensaries, one in each of Maine’s eight public Health Districts, according to a DHHS release. John Martins, DHHS director of employee and public communications, said the state has determined it will regionalize the dispensaries.

Graphic: Digital Journal

​Maine officials will accept applications starting this week fro residents who want to register as medical marijuana patients under the state’s new distribution system. But some who are already using marijuana under the current rules say they are in no hurry to put their names on the list.

Rules created after last November’s statewide referendum allow eight non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries to be set up in Maine, reports John Richardson at the Kennebec Journal. Prospective dispensary owners have until June 25 to file applications and business plans under guidelines posted last week.
All individuals who want to use medical marijuana must register with the state by January 2011, under the new rules. Applications will be posted online as soon as Tuesday, May 11, ac cording to Catherine Cobb, director of licensing for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.