A medical cannabis dispensary, convenience store, and gas station hybrid opened for business in Portland, Maine on Thursday, The Portland Press-Herald reports.
Patients with a medical card in Maine can now refuel their cars and their stashes. Atlantic Farms Gas N’ Grass on Warren Avenue in Portland is considered to be the first business of its kind in the state.
The gas station offers the cheapest gas in the area; the dispensary will sell gummies, tinctures, and flower. Owners converted a walk-in cooler inside the traditional gas station convenience store to be the dispensary’s storefront.
“We offer a rotating menu of the best cannabis products from the best caregivers in Maine with the convenience of, well, a convenience store.” — Jackson McLeod, cannabis caregiver and dispensary co-owner, via The Portland Press-Herald
The shop’s founding was made possible by recent changes to Maine’s nearly 20 year-old medical cannabis laws. Previously quite strict, the laws were loosened so that cannabis caregivers can hire an employee and sell cannabis direct to the medical card-holding public.
Atlantic Farms Gas N’ Grass timed things perfectly. They received a certificate of occupancy and approval from state regulators just before Portland adopted a moratorium on new cannabis businesses in October, narrowly sneaking their approval in under the wire. Only eight businesses managed to get permits between the state rule change and the Portland moratorium.
McLeod and partners have been proactive about telling drivers they can’t consume cannabis and drive, going above and beyond state regulations. They don’t want their business shut down by the local municipality. Maine’s new cannabis rules and Portland’s local moratorium are still somewhat vague and legally untested.
Only a handful of businesses across all states with cannabis legalization have “gas-and-grass” business models. Two are known in Colorado, operated by the dispensary chain Native Roots. It remains unknown what, if any, legal challenges may await these businesses in the future — for now, they are at the forefront of cannabis entrepreneurship and normalization.