BRUNSWICK — Brunswick may have its first recreational marijuana retail store coming down the pike, but it’s still too soon to say when, according to town officials. 

GJoris LLC went before the town staff review committee Wednesday with early plans to construct a 3,100-square-foot recreational marijuana store at 4 Business Parkway in the Brunswick Industrial Park. 

According to Matt Panfil, director of planning and development, the Wednesday meeting was the preliminary meeting for the business, which will still need to go through several other regulatory phases before receiving final approval. Should the store gain planning board approval, it will still need to obtain local and state licenses, the latter of which only opened for recreational marijuana business applications in late 2019.

The proposal includes 65 parking spaces, with the option to expand to 85. While Panfil expressed concerns that the parking is roughly six times what the town would recommend for a building that size, Michael DiPersia, who owns GJoris LLC, told the committee that he thinks it is a low estimate, especially given that it initially would be one of the only recreational stores in the area. 

According to Panfil, no other recreational storefront applications submitted, nor has he seen much interest yet, though he speculated that could change in the coming months. 

DiPersia and Joseph Marden, project manager with civil engineering and surveying firm Sitelines, said the store — the name of which has not been announced and was not included in any meeting materials — will be designed to have a “destination retail feel.”

DiPersia declined to comment on the project beyond what was said at the meeting.

People will have to line up at the door to show their identification and the majority of time spent at the store will be waiting in line, DiPersia said. Shopping will likely take around 10 minutes. The store will have roughly 10 employees at a given time, with two security officers, a manager and six to eight retail workers. 

Officials also heard a proposal Wednesday for a marijuana cultivation facility at 43 Bibber Parkway, also in the Brunswick Industrial Park area. While Marden, project manager for both sites, said it is unclear if the two projects are directly related. 

Greg Hastings, the owner of 3 Business Parkway, where The Times Record is a tenant, spoke against the retail store. 

“I am very happy having a cultivation operation across the street,” he said, but putting a destination retail site in an industrial park is a “big mistake.” 

Hearing that 65 parking spaces may be inadequate was concerning, he said, especially given that Business Parkway is a dead-end street.

“I have no issues with cannabis cultivation or retail stores,” he said, but “birds of a feather flock together.” He suggested they go out to Cook’s Corner, perhaps in the soon-to-be former Sears location, which recently announced it will close this spring. However, according to police Cmdr. Mark Waltz, Brunswick officials intentionally zoned marijuana locations into industrial locations. 

If approved, the store would be the first recreational marijuana storefront in Brunswick, and one of the first in the Midcoast. 

Highbrow, a medical marijuana chain with locations in Topsham, Manchester and Waldoboro, received approval for its first recreational store from the Bath planning board last month. The site, located on Leeman Highway, could open as soon as April, according to Highbrow officials. 

Brunswick already has two medical marijuana retail stores: Stone Coast Botanicals in Cook’s Corner, which was grandfathered in when the Brunswick council passed its marijuana ordinance in fall 2018, and Elevated Remedies which opened across the street on Industrial Parkway over the summer. 

 

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