Medical marijuana dispensary sets tentative opening date in Portland

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PORTLAND — The group that has state approval to open a medical marijuana dispensary in the city has set a tentative opening date.

If all goes according to plan, the dispensary at 685 Congress St. will open on Jan. 29, 2012.

The group that will run the Portland dispensary and three others in Maine has also changed its name: Wellness Connection of Maine is the new name of what had been called Northeast Patients Group.

The group already operates a dispensary by appointment only in Thomaston, and plans on opening offices in Brewer and Hallowell. Dispensaries are only open to approved patients.

Executive Director Rebecca DeKeuster said the name change better reflects the mission and services that will be offered at each facility.

Patients will be able to get medical marijuana in forms they can smoke, drink and and eat. But a variety of other wellness services will also be offered, including yoga, massage and acupuncture.

The Portland dispensary will also have cafe-style seating and Wi-Fi service. No marijuana will be grown on site.

DeKeuster said the group has contractors ready to begin renovating the 6,500-square-foot space behind the Local 188 restaurant.

City Hall spokeswoman Nicole Clegg said review process for the group’s permits should be completed by the end of the year.

Barring any delays with permitting, the dispendary should be open on Jan. 29, or by the first week of February at the latest, DeKeuster said.

“The facility is going to be a warm and welcoming place for our patients,” she said. “We’re well on our way to becoming a valued and hopefully respected member of the business community.”

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or Follow him on Twitter: @randybillings