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Medical marijuana returns to Thomaston

By Dan Otis Smith | Jun 12, 2017
Photo by: Dan Otis Smith A mural painted by artists Subone and Nonstop displays the name of the business.

Thomaston — Caregiver Mark Crockett wants his business to appeal to a particular kind of marijuana consumer: professionals.

“What happened originally is we’d grow our marijuana and go to McDonald’s or Starbucks and do our transactions across tables,” he said. But that model is not ideal for anyone involved, particularly members of the community who may be worried about how it looks for them to be buying a substance with a reputation and legal status that is in flux nationwide. “We’ve decided as caregivers to provide privacy, education and a professional environment.”

Elite Glass, which opened last month, is located off Route 1 near the intersection with Dexter Street, in a plaza along with industrial supplier Fastenal and Chinese restaurant China Fortune. Its low-key storefront at the former site of the Wellness Connection dispensary can be hard to spot. Crockett said he was trying to introduce the concept of medical marijuana to the community in a tasteful way, without overt advertisements. But he also expressed a desire for people to stop in and learn.

“It’s really important that they understand how this medicine works and how they benefit from it,” he said of current or potential patients. He emphasized the importance of proper dosing, as well as the fact that many medicinal cannabis products contain no tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical compound that produces marijuana’s “high.”

"It's not just a bunch of people getting stoned," he said. "Our ultimate goal as a company is to do effect-specific medicine."

Medical marijuana has been proposed as a remedy for a wide range of ailments, from back pain to post-traumatic stress disorder, epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease.

Crockett said accepting marijuana as a legitimate medicine and business opportunity was a difficult adjustment for him, too – he served for seven years in the Coast Guard, often enforcing drug laws.

Now, though, he is significantly invested in legal marijuana. He said he has lobbied on behalf of the caregiver community, and is involved in the Legislature’s current effort to regulate recreational marijuana.

In 2013, he was one of the buyers of the former Peirce Elementary School in Belfast, which he said he had used to grow marijuana but now rents out.

Currently, the Thomaston shop and clinic is laid out simply, with one flamboyant touch in the colorful, graffiti-style logos one sees immediately upon entering. Glass cases hold an array of fanciful glass smoking apparatuses and other accessories, like rolling papers and cleaners. All of the glassware is made by Maine artists, Crockett said. He hopes to hold a glass-blowing event at the location soon.

In the back rooms, another type of business is under way. First, one walks through a waiting room that could pass for one in a typical doctor’s or dentist’s office. Patient forms sit on a small coffee table. Further in, there is an office with a desk and one more glass case containing a selection of cannabis products.

Crockett, who grew up in Warren, emphasized his connections to the area and his good intentions with marijuana. “This is not a bad thing. There is a huge potential to help people, as well as a huge economic benefit to communities,” he said.

He rejected the notion that marijuana is a “gateway drug.” “Gateway? Gateway out of addictive, unhealthy drugs onto medicine,” he said. He noted that no deaths have been ever been reported due to an overdose of marijuana, a distinction many legal drugs no not share.

He also said he supports additional regulations for caregivers, whom he said were severely limited as business operators while also largely free of safety regulations and inspection requirements. Crockett said he had voluntarily submitted to an inspection of the Thomaston location and was deemed compliant. But he said state rules limiting caregivers to employing only one person made no sense in a capitalist society.

Because of those rules, Elite Glass will have just one employee for the time being.

However, increased economic activity could eventually come to Thomaston in the form of retail recreational marijuana businesses, if the town welcomes them. Such ventures are also still awaiting state regulations from the Legislature. Completed rules are expected by the end of February 2018.

While he emphasized responsible medical use of cannabis for certain conditions, Crockett also said he supports adults’ right to use marijuana recreationally. He said he is interested in obtaining a license to sell recreational marijuana once that is possible, but that he would establish a separate business to do so. The current business, he said, focuses on the medicinal, rather than the social or recreational, side of cannabis.

Reporter Dan Otis Smith can be reached at 594-4401 x123 or by email at dsmith@villagesoup.com.

Elite Glass and Cannabis Cured sit off Route 1 in Thomaston, next door to industrial supplier Fastenal. (Photo by: Dan Otis Smith)
Mark Crockett, owner of Elite Glass and Cannabis Cured, stands in front of murals by artists Subone and Nonstop. (Photo by: Dan Otis Smith)
The business offers a selection of marijuana accessories. (Photo by: Dan Otis Smith)
An array of glass smoking implements made by Maine artists sits behind glass cases. (Photo by: Dan Otis Smith)
A mural by artists Subone and Nonstop displays the name of the medical side of the business. (Photo by: Dan Otis Smith)
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Comments (3)
Posted by: Ron Hawkes | Jun 13, 2017 22:30

Maggie, I do not believe that Elite Glass is a dispensary. Mark Crockett is what is described by state statute, as a caregiver. There is also at least one other caregiver that works out of that office as well. 

A qualifying patient must register and receive a state issued identification card. That patient is then qualified to possess not more than 2 ½ ounces of usable marijuana and, if they have not specified a primary caregiver, may grow not more than 6 plants.

A primary caregiver, who other than a nonprofit dispensary, who has been issued and possesses a registry identification card is allowed to procure marijuana for a quantifying patient with whom he is connected through the registration process, may possess up to 2 ½ ounces of usable marijuana for each patient with whom he is connected. Each primary caregiver may assist no more than 5 patients.

A nonprofit dispensary is a registered entity that may acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, use, deliver, transfer or transport marijuana and/or paraphernalia without fear of prosecution. The dispensary is considered a primary caregiver. There is no limit to the number of patients for whom the dispensary may act as the primary caregiver. These individuals may not be arrested nor may they be discriminated against by a landlord or school and cannot be denied custody or visitation of a minor. (this is from your link). So by law, there is a difference between caregiver as it is now and how the Wellness Connection which used to be there was a dispensary.

Also, there are two types of caregivers, cultivating and non-cultivating. Here is a link that shows the requirements of both. And you are right, just about anyone can be a primary caregiver as long as you can pass a background check. http://mainelymarijuana.blogspot.com/p/caregiver-laws.html

I will say once you talk to a few caregivers, you can tell the ones that are really there to help and the ones in it for the money!! My caregiver is one of the good guys in it to help.

 



Posted by: Maggie Trout | Jun 13, 2017 19:23

Dispensaries must be operated on a not-for-profit bases but currently there is no requirement that they be 501(c)(3) or even to be corporations under Maine law. They must be more than 500 feet from a school, have a board of directors, none of whom can have a felony conviction, have an appropriate level of security and all cultivation must take place in an enclosed, locked facility. Dispensaries cannot purchase marijuana. Political subdivisions can limit the number of dispensaries and can adopt appropriate zoning regulations. https://www1.maine.gov/dhhs/mmma/Summary-Medical%20Marijuana%20Statute.pdf  Elite Glass is registered as a LLC corporation in Maine.  What part of the shop is nonprofit.  -- I cannot find the State Statute definition for "clinic."



Posted by: Maggie Trout | Jun 13, 2017 18:15

This is a crock.  How many people require glass piranah-face pipes, for example, to take medication.  The painting - the logo could not be more psychedelic.  This is not how you change public perception.  He keeps stressing that he is a "caregiver."  Is this then considered a medical practice, and what are the requirements for licensure as a medical practitioner.  You can't give a Swedish massage in Maine without licensure.  BSN and higher-degree Nurses in Maine are prohibited from practicing medicine they were educated and trained to provide.  "Our ultimate goal as a company is to do effect-specific medicine." Then get an M.D.  What he is, is a capitalist - period.  Don't try to delude the public with this faux concern and presentation.

 

Wonder, too, if growers have their pesticide licenses if they are not growing certified organic, or at least organic, no-pesticide marijuana.  And why would anyone who is truly medically-determined to benefit from it, want to suck in pesticides that do, themselves, alter cellular structure and function.  That's like taking prescription medication and ignoring the inactive ingredients.

 

The State seems quite willing to permit just about anyone to be a "primary caregiver."   Why.

 



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