Archive for the ‘news’ category

Five takeaways on the state of commercial real estate

November 20th, 2018

The Central Maine Business Breakfast on the state of commercial real estate in the region brought together about 30 people Tuesday at the Holocaust and Human Rights Center at the University of Maine at Augusta to talk about the challenges and opportunities in commercial real estate.

Bill Mitchell, owner of GHM Insurance Agency and property investor and developer throughout Waterville; Andrew Silsby, president and chief executive officer of Kennebec Savings Bank; and Kevin Mattson, a commercial real estate developer and investor in northern New England served as the panel of experts.


These are the highlights:

• Developing distressed properties carries with it both costs and risks. Mitchell, who has redeveloped a number of properties, has found that tenants in the Waterville area have been used to paying relatively low rents. Getting prospective tenants to understand why rents on rehabilitated buildings are higher and why that will improve the economics of the city overall will take a process of education over time.

• One of the trends in Augusta real estate is more institutional money coming into the market, Mattson said, which opens up opportunities for developers to turn their properties more quickly. At the same time, the challenge in Augusta is that it’s a tertiary market (relatively small population), so refilling a vacated space is more difficult and can take time. Preparing for that takes planning and capital. Even so, opportunities still exist in the capital city region.

• The emerging cannabis market will

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Driver had ‘dangerous’ levels of opioids, sedatives on night of deadly crash, expert says

November 20th, 2018
Beth Brogan | BDN

WEST BATH, Maine — The head of the Northern New England Poison Center told a judge on Tuesday that a Hope woman charged with manslaughter in the deaths of a Woolwich couple had a “dangerous” amount of opioids, sedatives and other drugs on the night of the January 2017 crash.

Danielle Ward, 35, was driving a 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe with seven children on Route 1 at about 6 p.m. Jan. 21, 2017, when she allegedly veered into the southbound lane and collided with a 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe driven by 70-year-old Robert Martin, Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry said at the time.

Martin died at the scene of the crash. His wife, Carolyn Martin, 76, a passenger in the Hyundai, was flown by LifeFlight of Maine helicopter to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston where she was pronounced dead.

[Woman charged with manslaughter, OUI after Route 1 crash that killed couple]

A southbound 2013 Ford Explorer

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Suspect accused of killing Maine man takes stand in his own defense

November 20th, 2018
Jen Lynds | BDN

HOULTON, Maine —  A 23-year-old Fitchburg, Massachusetts, man who is accused of murdering an Oakfield resident when an argument broke out over a drug deal two years ago took the stand Monday to blame the crime on someone else.

Marcus Asante testified during the fourth day of his murder trial on Monday in Aroostook County Superior Court in Houlton, that Darin Goulding, 29, of Leominster, Massachusetts, is the one who fatally shot Douglas Morin Jr., 31, of Oakfield on Oct. 16, 2016.

Prosecutors allege that Asante pulled the trigger as Morin sat in his Lincoln Town Car on the PD Road in Sherman that day. Goulding and Tia Leigh Ludwick, 24, also of Leominster, Massachusetts, were in the car and also charged in connection with the crime.

Ludwick pleaded guilty in February to murder and robbery and was sentenced in April to 17 years in prison.
Goulding pleaded guilty in February to robbery in exchange for the state dismissing

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Don’t think about bringing legal pot bought in Massachusetts back to Maine

November 19th, 2018

The first legal marijuana shops in New England open Tuesday in Massachusetts, but Mainers looking to visit the pot shops won’t be able to bring their purchase home.

Crossing state lines with any marijuana is illegal at the federal level. Transporting marijuana is a felony punishable by five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The bottom line is marijuana should stay in the state where it is purchased, according to the federal government.

What is unclear is how aggressively federal prosecutors would go after Mainers bringing pot across state lines.

Maine State Police said they take no special measures when it comes to recreational marijuana.

“The Maine Department of Public Safety neither promulgates nor administers any rules applicable to either medicinal or recreational use of marijuana,” Maine State Police attorney Christopher Parr said.

It is important to note that in New Hampshire, marijuana has been decriminalized but it is not legal

Like Massachusetts, Mainers legalized recreational marijuana in 2016.

The state of Maine is working out the rules before the first marijuana retail shops open.


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What to expect as 1st pot shops in East finally open

November 19th, 2018
Steven Senne | AP

The long wait for recreational marijuana sales to begin in Massachusetts is almost over with the first commercial pot shops set to open on Tuesday.

It can hardly be termed a robust launch with only two stores opening initially, in Leicester and Northampton. But they can boast of being the first anywhere in the eastern United States as the commercial cannabis industry looks to expand its geographic base amid increasing public acceptance.

Massachusetts voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016, but it’s taken more than two full years to reach this point.

Some things to know:

The first sales

The first pot shops will open at 8 a.m. in Northampton, a small city in western Massachusetts, and in the central Massachusetts town of Leicester. Both stores already operate as medical marijuana dispensaries but are the first to be cleared by state regulators to sell recreational pot to adults 21 and older.

The symbolic first buyers have already been chosen.

Northampton Mayor David

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Legal pot makes workplace testing a challenge

November 19th, 2018

Belfast — In an era of legalized recreational marijuana and medicinal cannabis, employers have been increasingly concerned about use in the workplace, impairment, and hiring challenges associated with drug testing, according to Amanda O’Leary, planning and research associate for the Maine Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Standards.

Approximately 25 business people attended a breakfast forum on marijuana in the workplace hosted by Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce on Nov. 1 at the Wentworth Event Center. The event featured O’Leary and local marijuana business owner Paul McCarrier talking about drug testing and their take on marijuana use.

If an employer has a drug testing policy, someone who uses cannabis medicinally will always test positive. “That is the challenge we are finding,” O’Leary said. She advised consulting an attorney if an employer is planning to test.

“I’ve seen a trend of employers removing marijuana from the pre-employment testing policy and only testing in a probable-cause situation, if they suspect someone is impaired,” she said. “What I would recommend, besides talking to a knowledgeable lawyer, is to have policies in place. …It is just good business practice.”

When employees know what is expected or prohibited up front, they are more inclined to follow those policies and employers will be less likely to scramble to figure out how to deal with something at the last minute.

“And this goes for any policies the employer has, not just for drug/alcohol use,” O’Leary added.

As of May, the amended recreational law allows employers to have policies dealing with impairment in the

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Future for marijuana businesses in Orono still up in the air

November 19th, 2018
Steven Senne | AP

Orono’s town councilors still haven’t decided whether to allow commercial marijuana operations in town, but they’re looking at rules they might need to have on the books if they ultimately decide to allow them.

Commercial operations would include marijuana cultivation sites, businesses that manufacture marijuana products including edibles and oils, labs that test the plants and marijuana-derived products, and retail shops.

A council committee on Thursday night heard examples of zoning ordinances they could adopt to regulate marijuana establishments as a debate played out among residents at the meeting over whether the town should allow the businesses at all.

“What I heard from the town council is we’re not interested in making a final decision yet but we would like you to create a framework to see what it looks like if we were to opt in,” said David Milan, Orono’s economic development director.

Council members asked Milan for more information about restricting commercial marijuana use near child care providers and nursery schools.

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Locals say they’re OK with retail pot sales, just not in their neighborhoods

November 17th, 2018
Deb Cram | Portsmouth Herald

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — A review of the town’s marijuana survey highlighted Tuesday’s Town Council meeting.

As presented by Councilor Mallory Cook, the survey indicated while a majority of town residents favored the legal sale of marijuana in town, most want it kept out of residential zones. A total of 1,069 residents participated in the survey Nov. 6, representing 31 percent of voters who cast ballots Election Day.

More than 60 percent of respondents wanted to see most recreational uses of marijuana — cultivation, manufacturing or testing — restricted to the town’s industrial zones. However, 59 percent of survey-takers were OK with the retail sale of marijuana in the town’s business zone.

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Results for medical marijuana were more mixed. More than 70 percent favored caregiver retail stores or registered dispensaries for the sale of marijuana in

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1st pot shops in New England to open in Massachusetts on Tuesday

November 16th, 2018
Robert F. Bukaty | AP

BOSTON — Two marijuana stores in Massachusetts were given the green light to begin selling to recreational customers next week, making them the first commercial pot shops in the eastern United States.

The Cannabis Control Commission said Friday that New England Treatment Access, in Northampton, and Cultivate Holdings, of Leicester, were authorized to open in three calendar days.

The Northampton store quickly announced it would open at 8 a.m. Tuesday. There was no immediate word from Cultivate if it also planned to open Tuesday.

The announcement ends a long wait for commercial sales to begin in Massachusetts. The state’s voters legalized the use of recreational marijuana by adults 21 and older in 2016, but it’s taken more than two years for state legislators and regulators to reach the point where the first stores can finally open.

The target date for retail sales had been July 1.

The “commence operations” notice from regulators requires the stores to wait three days before opening so

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Patten man details finding murder victim

November 16th, 2018

HOULTON, Maine — In heartbreaking testimony Thursday, a sobbing Patten man told the jury in the murder trial against Marcus Asante, 23, of Massachusetts, that he panicked when he saw that his friend was dead in the front seat of his car. » Read more: Patten man details finding murder victim

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