“Bud tenders” Ethan Witham, left, and Zach Hall ring up a customer for a sale of marijuana flower at Green Cures in Auburn on Saturday. Edibles and concentrates are in high demand and short supply. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

For the last 17 years, Mark Humphries has run Northland General Store in Stratton, a small town in Franklin County, where he has sold beer, wine and tobacco products, among other things.

Tanya Rollins said that her shop, Green Cures in Auburn, is the only shop licensed to sell recreational marijuana in Lewiston and Auburn. Rollins made the first recreational sale in Maine just after opening at 7 a.m. Friday. The cost of recreational marijuana is double what she considers a reasonable price at this time. A quarter-ounce of Alaskan Thunder, left, sells for $110 while and eighth-ounce of Modified Grapes, right, sells for $65. “We need to get the supply to meet the demand,” said Rollins. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

A few years ago, he decided to dip his toes into the world of medical marijuana by becoming a licensed caregiver.

Humphries said that when Mainers voted in 2016 to legalize marijuana for recreational use he decided the next logical step was to start his own store offering marijuana.

His store, Northland Botanicals, was one of just six to open Friday for Maine’s inaugural day of allowing adult-use marijuana sales.

Humphries’ store joined Green Cures LLC in Auburn, Firestorm Cultivation in Bangor, Sweet Relief Shop in Northport, and Theory Wellness and Seaweed Co. in South Portland in opening for the first time on Friday.

Two other stores received licenses but didn’t open Friday: House of Ganja in Newry and Coastal Cannabis Co. in Damariscotta.

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Business was booming in Stratton on Friday and has remained steady on Saturday, Humphries said.

Green Cures “bud tender” Ethan Witham is able to sell marijuana to any customer who has either a driver’s license or a passport. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“For the first 30 or 45 minutes on Friday, we had some short wait times, but after that, we haven’t had a wait time of more than a few minutes for anybody,” Humphries said.

Many of Humphries’ customers were locals, including his first sale of the day: a friend who bought a small amount of flower and some pre-rolled marijuana joints.

Humphries also had customers visiting from southern Maine and other states.

“Quite a few people were visiting just because they never thought in their lifetime they’d see marijuana be sold in stores,” Humphries said. “Some people came to buy some product. Others came to chit-chat and see what the store looked like. I’m just excited and happy to be a part of it all.”

Tanya Rollins, the owner of Green Cures LLC in Auburn and the only woman who owns and operates a recreational marijuana store in Maine, said that her first two days were “up and down, with good moments and bad moments.”

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She said that nine months ago, she started Green Cures LLC as a medical marijuana business but recently switched it to recreational marijuana.

“A lot of our medical marijuana customers were upset at the hike in prices,” Rollins said. “On top of that, the prices for recreational are very high right now. People are buying a lot less than they would if it were the price of medical marijuana.”

Green Cures owner Tanya Rollins said that she just got her active license to sell recreational marijuana three days ago. Rollins did sell medical marijuana out of the former bank building, but she is unable to sell recreational and medical out of the same building with only one entrance. “The City of Auburn has been pretty amazing to work with,” said Rollins. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

However, while the low amount of product has been difficult on her and other small marijuana businesses, she said that by the end of the year, she expects things to be better.

“As long as we have some growers who are willing to work with small businesses and not corporations, we’ll be good,” Rollins said. “Right now, I don’t have any edibles or concentrates at the store. By the end of the year, I think we’ll have everything we need.”

In addition to her store next to the Auburn Mall, Rollins runs a nonprofit organization called Green Cures For Maine, which she started in March at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It started as finding a way to get children some meals once schools closed,” Rollins explained. “After that, I wanted to find a way to get medicine for children who needed it. It started getting bigger and bigger from there, and that’s when I decided to make it into a legitimate nonprofit.”

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Rollins said her goal for Green Cures LLC, other than getting more product into her store, is to “keep giving back to the community.”

Rollins said that she grew up in the foster system, has been homeless and in and out of shelters with her children and “knows what it’s like to not have food or a roof over your head.”

“I don’t feel it’s safe for kids to live like that,” Rollins said. “If I can find a way to help, why not? I don’t need a stack of cash sitting in a safe. It doesn’t do anyone any good. “

Attempts to reach John Anman, the owner of the House of Ganja in Newry, were unsuccessful.

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