Finances, legal challenges hobble Northeast Patients Group’s pot dispensaries

August 2nd, 2011 by admin Leave a reply »

Two years ago when Mainers voted to expand the distribution of medical marijuana in the state, the future looked bright for marijuana advocates, patients and those hoping to benefit from the widening market for the herb. That seemed especially true for Northeast Patients Group, a spinoff of a California organization, which won four of Maine’s eight dispensary licenses, including one to open a retail store for medical marijuana in Portland.

But now, eight months after the Portland dispensary was first expected to open, NPG appears to be in disarray, having recently lost two of its original board members, severed ties and financial support with its parent corporation, Berkeley Patients Group, and become embroiled in a lawsuit. Neither the Portland dispensary, nor its three companion operations in Augusta, Bangor and Thomaston, are open, and there are questions around NPG’s viability and the status of its four licenses.

Becky DeKeuster, the CEO of NPG who advocated for the four retail operations during the state licensing review, says she can’t comment on the situation, but hinted at positive new developments with NPG that would be revealed after this story is published. In the meantime, she is being sued by Berkeley Patients Group for breaching her employment contract and using confidential information to forge a financing deal with another investor, according to a lawsuit filed in the Cumberland County Superior Court July 6. In February, DeKeuster signed a letter of intent with Cuttino Mobley, a former NBA basketball player, and the suit claims she resigned

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