Highbrow, a medical marijuana store chain, is looking to open its first recreational marijuana storefront in Bath. The owners said they pride themselves on the appearance of their stores, which they likened to art galleries, such as their Topsham location shown here. (Photo courtesy of Patrick Pecorelli)

BATH — Bath could get its first recreational marijuana store just one month after the city council voted to allow recreational sales

Highbrow, a medical marijuana chain with locations in Topsham, Manchester and Waldoboro, is looking to open a Bath location on the southbound side of Leeman Highway across from a vacant gas station.

Business co-owners Jason Brossi, Charles Doherty and Noah Rosen said this would be the company’s first recreational marijuana store, but they’re interested in expanding into the U.S. Cellular building next door to house a medical marijuana location in the future. 

“Bath was the next logical progression in our growth. Bath is growing, and we think it’s a great place to be,” said Brossi. 

Their Waldoboro location was the first to open in April 2017 and their Topsham location opened in September of that year. Their Manchester location opened in July 2018. 

“We don’t want to be presumptuous, but if we are approved, we’re very excited to serve Bath and the surrounding communities,” said Doherty. 

Doherty said the communities their stores are located in have been supportive, which he said he believes is because of how their stores are designed. 

“You won’t find in tapestries, incense, or neon colors in our stores,” said Doherty. “Our stores are set up like an art gallery of sorts, and we pride ourselves on quality and service.”

The Bath Planning Board will vote on the site plan approval on Tuesday.

“Assuming they meet all the requirements, they should gain approval,” said Ben Averill, Bath city planner. 

Should the store gain planning board approval, it will still need to obtain local and state licenses, the latter of which isn’t yet unavailable to business owners. Applications for state licenses will be available before the end of 2019 according to David Heidrich Jr., director of engagement and community outreach in the State Office of Marijuana Policy.

“A lot of the heavy lifting is near complete, but that’s not to say additional rulemaking will not happen as the industry matures,” said Heidrich. 

According to Bath’s retail rules, recreational and medical marijuana stores will be required to be licensed by the state and city and install security measures, including 24-hour surveillance. In addition, passers-by shouldn’t be able to smell marijuana from outside the building.

The rules also set a 500-foot buffer around schools, licensed childcare facilities, public parks, substance abuse rehabilitation or treatment centers and halfway houses. No two retail stores and dispensaries can open within 300 feet of each other.  

While Maine voted to legalize recreational marijuana, it’s still illegal under federal law, meaning it cannot be transported across state lines.  

Maine voted to legalize medical marijuana in 2009, and dispensaries opened to provide medical-grade cannabis to people with chronic and debilitating illnesses to patients who have a prescribed medical marijuana card. Bath has one medical marijuana dispensary downtown, located at 67 Centre St.

There are no other proposals for recreational or medical marijuana storefronts according to Averill. 

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