A small, unassuming house that has been converted to a business opened it’s doors last week, making it the first legal dispensary on the East Coast. Safe Alternatives is housed in Frenchville, Maine on Route 1 with no signage, but plenty of security cameras as required by state law. The facility looks like a typical house, but the business run by Leo Trudel has a secure growing facility locked up on the inside, and not many local supporters so far.
Some residents are wary of the business, because it doesn’t look like a business. The facility is located less than a mile from an elementary school, a point repeatedly mentioned in local media stories, but the state law says it must be no closer than 500 feet. One man interviewed for local TV affiliate WLBZ Channel 2 said that he doesn’t feel the small unassuming house looks secure enough for him and his family, saying that he doesn’t’ care if Safe Alternatives has said that they will be careful that marijuana doesn’t get into the wrong hands, but he says “the Japanese people received the same insurances about nuclear power plants, so I am just not convinced”.
So far, neighbors of the facility say that there has been very little activity at the location and operator and owner Trudel has declined media requests, telling one local affiliate, “To be perfectly honest, the media has really done nothing but play us against each other, and I’m done playing this game”. The city is currently working on a proposed ordinance that would be stricter than the state’s laws for marijuana cultivation facilities. There will be a public hearing on a new ordinance in May where residents will be allowed to speak to council members and add their input. We hope there will be debate on both sides of this issue.