Bath marijuana dispensary aims for September opening

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BATH — A medical marijuana dispensary is expected to open at 67 Centre St., the former location of the Gediman’s Appliances store, early in September.

Wellness Connection of Maine is moving its Thomaston office and staff to Bath. Open since 2011, that site has served more than 1,000 Mid-Coast residents, according to a July press release.

A need for greater space, privacy and a more centralized spot prompted the move, according to the company, which also plans to hire extra employees in the months to come. Patient accounts from the Thomaston site will be transferred to Bath.

Wellness Connection runs three other dispensaries, in Portland, Brewer and Gardiner, and a cultivation facility in Auburn.

While she had initially anticipated an August opening, CEO Patricia Rosi said in a recent interview, “a makeover project like this, or a remodeling, always takes longer than you expect.”

The new target is early next month, probably after Labor Day.

Wellness Connection plans an open house, allowing people to visit the space before it becomes busy, said Rosi, a Falmouth resident.

The community response has been “great,” she said, noting that permitting and code enforcement went smoothly, and that she also met with Bath police.

Maine voters in November 2008 approved a regulated distribution system of marijuana for people with specific medical conditions. Medical marijuana has been available since 2009 for people with pre-approved medical issues, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Wellness Connection.

“It’s always bittersweet to leave a location where you started, and where we built so many fond memories,” said Rosi, who noted the need “to be able to service more effectively, and more efficiently, more patients than what we were able to do in Thomaston.”

The Bath location, which Wellness Connection is leasing, will offer twice the space as the Thomaston dispensary has, and will be an “improved experience,” Rosi said.

Since its 2011 debut, Wellness Connection’s member base has grown four-fold, and created more than 80 permanent jobs in five counties, according to the company.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Patricia Rosi is CEO of Wellness Connection, a chain of medical marijuana dispensaries in Maine. Operations at the Thomaston facility are moving to Bath.

Wellness Connection will open next month at 67 Centre St. in Bath, the former location of the Gediman’s Appliances store

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.