BOWDOINHAM — A hemp processing company working out of the FHC building at 9 Main St., won permission from the planning board last month to add marijuana processing there.

Scott Ouellette of Alternative Rx Consulting LLC leases space in the downtown building. The town gave him the OK to use the space for making hemp products in a commercial kitchen. That initial project included the installation of ethanol extraction equipment to produce oil from hemp. Ouellette was granted a 2018 industrial hemp license from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

According to its social media page, Alternative Rx  provides consulting as well as cannabis and cannabis products for medical marijuana patients.

Ouellette, a medical marijuana caregiver, got planning board approval on Dec. 18 to expand and process retail and medical marijuana in the same building where the business has processed hemp for nearly a year.

Last month the state rolled out application forms for adult-use marijuana establishments, three years after Mainers voted to legalize recreational marijuana.

“We’re trying to get into the rest of the market,” Ouellette said. “We have a pretty solid plan. The first (step) is to go medical and then our plan would be to expand into (recreational marijuana processing) and be able to expand the extraction equipment that we can use in there and change some of the rooms.”

Ouellette said the traffic at the site will be limited. Any leftover organic material will be hauled away and composted in Woolwich.

Town Planner Nicole Briand said hemp is considered an agricultural use. She said Alternative Rx was very proactive in responding to the single complaint about odor from the building by installing new air filters.

“The biggest thing we tell (marijuana establishment) applicants and potential applicants, is you need to have your odor under control,” she said.

Briand said Alternative Rx Consulting LLC still has to get state licensing.

There won’t be any marijuana retail sales at the business, Briand said. It’s the first marijuana business approved by the planning board since the town adopted marijuana rules.

She said the town gets regular phone calls from people interested in starting a marijuana retail business but the planning board has only seen one application so far. Taylor Weaver and Gary Weaver plan to convert a building at 134 Pond Road into a medical marijuana storefront that will include future adult recreational marijuana sales pending a state application approval.

Bowdoinham’s land-use ordinance treats medical marijuana retail stores and recreational marijuana retail stores the same and allows them anywhere in town, except within 500 feet of any school.

The board reviewed the Weaver’s application in September but wanted more information before scheduling a public hearing and vote on the project.

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