Two local men are looking to grow and sell medical marijuana in Boothbay. Jan Martin of Boothbay and Darrell Gudroe of Boothbay Harbor have submitted an application to change the use of 638 Wiscasset Road to facilitate their new business venture, Pharmers Markets Caregivers.
On March 15, the planning board tabled the application due to confusion over the business’s purpose. The board mistakenly ruled the application allowed for the retail sale of recreational marijuana. Based on planning board advice, the two inserted medical marijuana into their application and proposal, which would lease space to patients and adults 21 and over to learn how to grow their own marijuana.
The revised application will be heard during a special planning board meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 30 in the municipal building.
Martin’s and Gudroe’s application calls for upgrading the building’s security and lighting. Phase 1 of their business plan calls for a garden supply section, accessory store, telemedicine room, caregiver location, and rental marijuana growing space. All usages are allowed under current state law.
“Not sure why there was confusion with the original application,” Gudroe said. “Retail marijuana is not legal. We understand this. Everything we are proposing is permissible under current law.”
Martin, 38, is a self-employed landscaper and a state licensed medical marijuana caregiver. He owns the proposed business. Under state law, medical marijuana caregivers may hire one employee. Martin will hire Gudroe, 40, who has owned Gudroe Technology Group since 2001.
Gudroe is not a licensed caregiver, but he advises others in becoming one. He is a caregiver consultant, advising new caregivers on building a marijuana growing room, creating dosing for patients, interfacing with state licensing boards, and talking to patients.
Gudroe is a Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine board member. He joined the board two years ago. Gudroe’s experience in medical marijuana began as a cancer survivor. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma 10 years ago.
“When I was diagnosed, it was like a two-year death sentence,” he said. “At first, I underwent heavy doses of chemotherapy. Later, I began treating myself with medical marijuana, and except for a few flare-ups, the cancer has stayed away.”
Cancer is one of 13 approved uses for medical marijuana. The others are agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, glaucoma, hepatitis C, HIV and AIDS, cachexia (wasting syndrome), dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, intractable chronic pain, nail-patella syndrome, seizures, and severe and persistent muscle spasms. A physician must refer medical marijuana to a patient. It’s the caregiver who works with the patient on how much medication is necessary.
One of Gudroe’s current patients is a 28-year old local woman with a tumor. He is providing her with medical marijuana in hopes of shrinking her tumor. If the tumor shrinks enough in the next five weeks, the woman will avoid thyroid surgery. If she has surgery, it will result in her taking thyroid medication for rest of her life, according to Gudroe.
“We have a shot at knocking down the tumor’s size to postpone this life-altering surgery,” he said. “I’ve donated a thousand dollars’ worth of medication, and I’m looking to donate another $4,000, so she won’t have to go through with the surgery. That’s the kind of stuff we do, and we’re looking to open a business that helps pay for that.”
Martin and Gudroe considered opening their business in either Boothbay or Boothbay Harbor. They met with both towns’ select boards before making a decision.
“Boothbay seemed more supportive of what we wanted to do,” Martin said.
Phase 2 of the plan would include selling and growing recreational marijuana in 2018. Martin and Gudroe would need state and municipal approval to sell recreational marijuana once the state’s moratorium ends in February 2018. Eventually, Martin sees his business growing. His future plans include seeking investors and creating a $3-5 million operation. Both men believe the new business will be a boon to the local economy.
“This industry attracts younger families. They will move into the area which will help with the school enrollment, and a state-of-the-art facility will increase the tax base. So I see this as being good for the community,” Martin said.
Gudroe would like to see the business become part of the tax increment finance district. The Wiscasset Road location is outside the TIF district which ends at the nearby industrial park.
But before any plans become reality, Martin knows he first must receive planning board approval. “Phase 2 doesn’t happen without phase 1,” he said.
Phase 1 would employ 10 to 15 year-round employees and Phase 2 may employ as many as 40, according to Gudroe.