HALLOWELL — Two marijuana businesses got the green light from city councilors Monday: Freshy Fresh Edible and Homegrown of Hallowell.

Currently, Homegrown of Hallowell LLC offers retail medical marijuana, and the license approved on Monday will allow them to transition to adult-use pending state approval.

Freshy Fresh Edible Co. LLC, a marijuana products manufacturing facility, will be located in the same building as Origins Cannabis Co. at 268 Whitten Road and exclusively develop marijuana beverages.

Altogether, there are a total of eight marijuana establishments in Hallowell.

Before approval, the council conducted a public hearing for each business, starting with Freshy Fresh Edible.

Business owner David Vickers noted that the last time he spoke with the council, it was to obtain a license for marijuana cultivation, which he said has been going well so far.

“We have no complaints,” said Vickers. “I’m very proud of the job we’ve done. There were some folks who were concerned with the smell, and we made sure there were no issues there.”

He said the beverage company would be in the same building but a completely different entity than Origins Cannabis Co.

“Some partners and I, local people who are in the beverage industry today, have gotten together and we’re very excited to take their knowledge along with the product we produce, and hope to put a very premium, low-THC content, beverage into the market,” Vickers said. “At the present time there aren’t a lot of these drinks available, so we’re very excited to do this, and we’re honored to have the opportunity to do it in Hallowell.”

Councilor Michael Frett asked Vickers if this side of the business would strictly focus on beverages, which he confirmed.

Vickers was also asked about CBD and said that this is not something the business is planning to offer at the moment.

Catherine Lewis and Nicholas Lewis, owners of Homegrown of Hallowell, discussed their application after no further comments were given during the first public hearing.

Catherine Lewis said that while they have offered medical marijuana as a flagship product, they’ve noted about three-quarters of the customers coming to their store are looking for adult-use marijuana.

“It’s in our best interest to be able to market to everyone,” she said. “We will still have the products available as we always have, but we will be switching it so that anybody can come into the store.”

As part of the transition, Catherine Lewis said they have already had to upgrade the camera system, and are in the process of installing a camera doorbell to screen customer IDs before they enter.

“Other than that, everything is scheduled to stay the same,” she said. “Both Nicholas and I will be here.”

She added that they just received word from the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy that their state license was approved.

Councilor Peter Spiegel asked if this would result in a disruption or change for existing medical patients who purchase products at the store.

Catherine Lewis said this was correct, and that anybody who wants to enter would need to show that they are over 21.

Nicholas Lewis said the biggest difference would be limitations on the amount of THC content in the products. If, for example, a medical marijuana patient with a higher tolerance needs a product with 500 milligrams or 1,000 milligrams of THC, they would not be able to purchase through an adult-use recreational marijuana store.

He said each individual product, such as a marijuana lollipop, is limited to 10 milligrams of THC, and a product like a chocolate bar with multiple pieces would be limited to 100 milligrams.

Catherine Lewis said the business in Hallowell would be adult use, but that they also have a medical store in Winthrop that will service anyone who needs higher medical dosages, such as cancer patients.

Frett asked about the experience of having a customer come in and ask for a higher dosage, and how that is managed.

Catherine Lewis said that, unfortunately, there is nothing they can do, and the law is pretty strict in limiting 10 milligrams per individual dose and 100 milligrams per package.

Frett asked if they anticipated that all customers would understand this and comply.

“There’s going to be some frustration,” said Nicholas Lewis. “I’ve had some people come in and they became irate if I don’t have 1,000-milligram gummies or some specialty thing. People are going to be frustrated, but that’s the risk unfortunately.”

One resident asked if there are any limitations of recreational marijuana outlets in the city. Hallowell Code Enforcement Officer Doug Ide said that there is a limit of three licenses in the downtown area, and all of those are taken. Outside of the downtown area, however, there is no limit. He said Hallowell currently has five retail stores: Three in the downtown area and one on either end.

Catherine Lewis said that the business can only have either a medical or adult-use license, so this transition keeps Hallowell within their limits.

Councilors Maureen AuCoin and Berkeley Almand-Hunter were absent and excused from the meeting, and the five present councilors unanimously accepted both licenses after the public hearings.

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