INDIAN ISLAND (AP) – Organizers of a planned pharmaceutical distribution center on Indian Island say the center would provide Maine pharmacies with cheaper prescription drugs from Canada.

Under the plan Gov. John Baldacci announced Thursday, American-made drugs would be reimported from Canada in bulk and the Penobscot Nation would run a wholesale distribution center to provide Maine consumers with lower prices.

Baldacci said he will seek a waiver from the federal government that would allow the importation. Others states have made similar requests, but none have yet been granted.

In the meantime, the Penobscots have received a $400,000 grant to help the tribe turn the building into a warehouse.

Tim Love, an architect of the project who served as the Penobscots’ chief between 1980 and 1986, said he did not know if the center will operate without a waiver.

The plan is for the space to become the workplace for well-paid pharmacy, marketing, customer service and technical employees. Plans include a mail-order prescription service, Love said.

The tribe is getting advice from the Pequots in Connecticut who have run such an operation for more a decade.

Grants now fund many of the tribe’s programs, but Craig Sanborn, housing director and interim economic development director, said the Penobscots want more.

“We would prefer to stand on our own feet and let our hard work generate profits and provide essential services to our people,” he said.

Vice Chief Michael Bear said he hopes the money could go toward additional housing, expanding the school system beyond the eighth grade and increasing day care services and programs for the elderly.

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