FARMINGTON — Farmington business partners have made applications in both Farmington and Wilton to open a medical marijuana dispensary.
Lucas J. Sirois and Charles Crandall, working with a business concept called Ahead Care, propose to turn either the former Rite-Aid building at 131 Wilton Road in Farmington or a previously unused building next to Dexter Supply on Route 2 in East in Wilton into dispensary clinics.
While doing the legwork to acquire town permits, both proposals are dependent upon state approval of Farmington or Wilton as a distribution center within the Western Maine District 3, one of eight districts throughout the state. The district covers Franklin, Oxford and Androscoggin counties.
The application in Farmington is presently under review by the town’s code enforcement officer as a retail/service business for approval by May 17 unless any objections are received from Planning Board members or abutting property owners, as stated in a letter sent to the 12 abutting properties. Concerns voiced would bring it before the town’s Planning Board.
The Wilton Planning Board will review its application during a 7 p.m. meeting on May 20. The application for the site, which is located in a commercial zone, would be dependent on any state licensing, said Paul Montague, Wilton’s code enforcement officer.
The concept for Ahead Care created by Sirois, owner of an electrical, excavation and snowplowing business, and Crandall, who has experience providing care to disabled people, includes four components as outlined in the Farmington application.
The center would include dispensing medical marijuana to card-holding patients along with other products and foods containing marijuana produced in an on-site, certified kitchen and a large cultivation center, “a state-of-the-art greenhouse featuring a climate-controlled facility,” where strains most beneficial to patients will be developed, according to the plan.
A third component, called Green Light, is a store providing lighting, gardening supplies and advice for patients to cultivate their own plants. There are some stores in Maine that do legally supply these products, Sirois said. Access to this portion of Ahead Care would not be limited to qualified patients.
The plan also includes providing space for other professionals to lease so they can work with patients as part of a holistic approach to wellness, he said.
Sirois expects the Department of Health and Human Services to make decisions on where dispensary centers can be located by July 9. Although, so far, they have only applied to Farmington and Wilton, he is flexible and willing to consider other towns including Lewiston-Auburn. The idea of opening a center in other zones is also being considered.
“We put together the best proposal to handle such a task but it’s up to DHHS to accept the business plan, our ideas and location … that’s a good part of it,” he said.
Farmington has had a few inquiries, said Steve Kaiser, code enforcement officer, but there is a hefty state application fee of $15,000 per site with most of the money returned if the site is not chosen.
Sirois said these two sites are viable options despite the travel distances for Androscoggin and Oxford residents. Those patients can travel to sites in Augusta or Portland while the Farmington and Wilton areas are more centralized for people from Skowhegan to Rumford and north of Farmington. Patients will be able to access centers outside their own districts, he said.
In choosing the sites, they were looking for buildings that are “people accessible” both in terms of parking and handicap accessibility.
“We also want to work with the local law enforcement and wouldn’t want to be off the beaten path,” he said.
The date of the Wilton Planning Board was corrected to May 20.