Two more retail outlets have received state approval to sell recreational cannabis when the Maine market goes live next month.
On Monday, the Office of Marijuana Policy issued retail licenses to Seaweed Co. in South Portland and Jamy Enterprises LLC in Newry, giving Maine five stores that will be allowed to sell adult-use marijuana as of Oct. 9, the state’s self-selected opening day. The state already had approved adult-use shops in Bangor, Northport and South Portland.
As of Monday, Maine has licensed five recreational grows, five retail stores, one manufacturing facility and one testing lab.
It was a big day for Seaweed’s Scott Howard of Pownal. The former urchin diver turned rock climbing gym owner and commercial greenhouse operator also netted state licenses to plant a midsized adult-use grow, Sea Sweets Co., and operate an adult-use manufacturing lab, Seasmoke Extracts Inc., both in Auburn, to supply his South Portland retail store.
The Merrow Road facility in Auburn will be Maine’s first licensed recreational marijuana manufacturing facility. It currently operates as a certified commercial medical marijuana extraction lab, using a hydrocarbon extractor to convert marijuana grown by caregivers and dispensaries into marijuana concentrates used to infuse foods or consumed through vaping or dabbing.
So far, Howard’s trio of approved applications makes Seaweed the only fully integrated recreational marijuana business in Maine, able to grow, manufacture and sell adult-use cannabis from start to finish, taking it from its infancy as a clone all the way through to the consumer. Howard and other operators of marijuana businesses are not eligible to be licensed to perform Maine’s mandatory third-party safety testing.
Howard is a familiar figure in the greater Portland area. The tomatoes, greens, cukes grown hydroponically at his New Gloucester farm, Olivia’s Garden, are fan favorites at the Portland Farmer’s Market. He founded the Maine Rock Gym in Portland in 1994, which evolved into EVO Rock + Fitness in 2015. A jack-of-all-trades, Howard also is a certified fly-fishing guide.
“I’ve been cultivating for over 25 years,” Howard wrote on Seaweed’s Facebook page. “I saw an opportunity to use my skill set to work with these beautiful plants. SeaWeed Co. encompasses the Maine culture and community. All of my business ventures have been about supporting and building community. … SeaWeed and the growing cannabis community is no different.”
Howard was the first to secure one of South Portland’s recreational marijuana store zoning permits. Last year, he got permission to build a 3,300-square-foot marijuana store across the street from the Target shopping plaza near the Maine Mall one day after the city’s new marijuana ordinance went into effect.
The other state recreational retail store license issued Monday went to Amy and John Amann of Bethel, who will operate House of Ganja out of the Barking Dog Market during ski season in the section of the gourmet market where liquor used to be sold. The shop is less than a mile from the Sunday River ski resort.
John Amann, originally from New Jersey, has operated a restaurant, 22 Broad Street, and a bed-and-breakfast out of the Gideon Hastings House in Bethel for more than a decade. He also owns a nearby pizza house. The former labor negotiator moved from New York City to Maine full-time in 2002.