Medical marijuana growing in Frenchville

December 16th, 2010 by admin Leave a reply »

FRENCHVILLE, Maine — There are still a lot of loose ends to wrap up in Maine’s new medical marijuana program, but way up north on the Canadian border, pot plants have been under quiet — and legal — cultivation since the beginning of October at Safe Alternatives, the first operational state-licensed growing facility in Maine.

In a phone conversation on Friday, Leo Trudel, founder of the Safe Alternatives nonprofit organization, would not disclose how many plants are growing at his Route 1 facility on the outskirts of Frenchville. Nor would he say how much usable marijuana he expects to harvest and distribute when the plants mature at the end of December, calling that information proprietary and a security risk.

“It’s enough to fill the facility to growing capacity,” he said. The marijuana will not be ready to distribute until February.

The growing operation, secured with steel doors, motion detectors, surveillance cameras, and both hard-wired and wireless alarm systems, is located inside a house Trudel owns in Frenchville. No one lives in the gambrel-style house.

Although the growing operation is established at the Route 1 location, many questions remain about the siting of a state-approved Safe Alternatives marijuana dispensary. Trudel wants to open the retail storefront in a refurbished garage on the same property as the growing operation, but local officials and residents have some serious concerns.

At a public meeting in November, voters enacted a 180-day moratorium on the opening of a marijuana dispensary in the town. Retroactive to August, the moratorium

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