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By John Richardson
Staff Writer

Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services has selected three licensees to operate Maine’s first six medical marijuana dispensaries.
A group with California roots, Northeast Patients Group,  was chosen to operate the dispensary in Cumberland County. That group also will operate three of the state’s other dispensaries.
None of the six applicants for a York County dispensary were considered qualified under the state’s scoring criteria, so the state is reopening the application proicess for that license.
The selected operators will now begin applying for local operating permits and growing  supplies of the medication.
The successful applications may be viewed and scoring summaries are available on the DHHS website.
Here is the full news release.
AUGUSTA- The Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services (DLRS) in the Department of Health and Human Services announced the selection of three non-profit corporations to dispense marijuana under Maine’s Medical Use of Marijuana Act.
A dispensary system has been established to assist registered patients whose physicians believe they will benefit from the medical use of marijuana for certain serious medical conditions.
A total of 27 applications were reviewed by a four-member panel. They were scored based on criteria outlined in the application instructions, including their plan to operate as a non-profit corporation long-term, convenience of location, prior business experience, patient education, record-keeping, inventory, and quality control.
Those who obtained the highest scores in their Districts and met the required minimum score of 70 were:
District 2 (Cumberland County): Northeast Patients Group
District 3 (Franklin, Oxford, Androscoggin): Remedy Compassion Center
District 4 (Waldo, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Knox): Northeast Patients Group
District 5 (Somerset, Kennebec): Northeast Patient Group
District 6 (Piscataquis, Penobscot): Northeast Patient Group
District 8 (Aroostook): Safe Alternatives of Fort Kent
In District 1 (York County) and District 7 (Washington, Hancock Counties), no applicants reached the minimum score needed to be considered for selection.  There were six applicants in District 1 and two applicants in District 7.
“We are re-opening the application process in these Districts,’ said Cathy Cobb, Director of the DLRS. “Those who were not selected can make changes to their plans and re-apply.” Cobb said the deadline to re-apply will be August 20 and that details can be found on the DLRS web site.
DHHS Commissioner Brenda Harvey commended the committee for its dedication and thorough review.
“I appreciate the many hours that the panel and our licensing staff have dedicated to this work and to adhering to this aggressive time schedule,’’ Harvey said.
Cobb said that she will be meeting with the dispensaries chief executives to review their applications and to discuss next steps. She anticipates it will take between two and four months for a dispensary to be open to patients.