VIENNA — Timothy Smale, president of Remedy Compassion Center, one of three companies chosen to dispense medical marijuana in Maine, knows how desperate patients are to get access to prescription cannabis.
Smale suffers from debilitating migraines and uses marijuana to stem nausea and to help him sleep. His wife, and vice president of Remedy, serves as his caregiver, administering doses of marijuana to him when he is too sick to do it himself.
The couple, who have lived in Vienna since 2004, intend to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Wilton, serving residents of Franklin, Oxford and Androscoggin counties.
They hope to finalize negotiations on a building on Route 2 quickly and open the dispensary by the end of the year.
According to the couple’s dispensary application, they intend to hire six administrators for the company, seven salespeople and six marijuana cultivators in their first year of business, adding several positions by year three. All of the marijuana will be cultivated at the dispensary, which will have state-of-the-art security, including motion detectors, glass-break detectors and video cameras.
Their product is expected to sell for $400 per ounce, which is $80 less than high-quality marijuana sold on the street. They will offer home delivery for customers who are not able to get to the dispensary during their regular Monday through Saturday hours.
The price per ounce is expected to drop to $324 per ounce by mid-2012.
According to the application form, the Smales anticipate marijuana sales of $388,714 in their first year of operation, growing to $1.7 million between July 2011 and June 2012, and $2.1 million the following year. Cultivation costs are expected to be $104,468 in the first year of operation, rising to $445,932 by the third year.
They estimate serving 375 patients in their start-up year, and up to 655 patients in year three.
In his application to the state, Timothy Smale listed his intention to sell marijuana in food forms such as brownies, caramels and cookies made with marijuana-infused butter and oil. The product will also be dispensed to be smoked as cigarettes, in pipes and as a smokeless vapor in a specially designed vaporizer, which eliminates carcinogens.
Patients may also be able to buy marijuana-infused topical lotions to use as anti-inflammatories or to treat psoriasis and eczema.
According to a press release issued by the couple, their goal is "to help fellow qualified patients and caregivers feel as comfortable acquiring their marijuana as they would purchasing aspirin at a pharmacy.”
The couple has not yet secured a lease on the building where they hope to establish their dispensary, Jennifer Smale said, because they couldn’t negotiate until they obtained a license. If negotiations there aren’t successful, she said they would site the dispensary elsewhere in Wilton.
According to Timothy Smale, the dispensary will feature an educational resource center for physicians to learn more about “the value of recommending medical cannabis for patients who suffer from debilitating and chronic health conditions.”
Jennifer Smale grew up in Yarmouth and left Maine to attend college. She said the couple moved to Maine in 2004 after learning voters legalized medical marijuana through referendum. At that time, Timothy Smale was CEO of Independent Glass Association, a nonprofit trade association based in Syracuse, N.Y., that helps small glass shops compete with chain stores. Jennifer Smale worked as the marketing director for IGA.
The couple later helped start up CannBe, based in Oakland, Calif., which develops and launches medical marijuana projects across the country.
Michael Danforth, a spokesman for Ahead Care, which submitted another application for District 3, said he was disappointed he lost the bids to open dispensaries in Wilton as well as in Sanford in York County and Farmingdale in Kennebec County after spending nearly $15,000 and hundreds of hours to prepare for the process.
He said his company is regrouping and will possibly submit applications for District 1, which covers southern Maine, and in Ellsworth in District 7, by the Aug. 20 deadline. None of the applicants for those districts scored the minimum 70 points to qualify for consideration to dispense marijuana, he said.
Freelance writer Betty Jespersen contributed to this report.