“We got local authorization for a city license this past Friday,” said Kaspar Heinrici, Director of Business Development, for SeaWeed Co. this afternoon at an attractive venue at 23 Marginal Way the company has occupied for two years – waiting and waiting longer for approval to open up a recreational marijuana store in Portland. Voters approved it way, way back in 2016. Remember that?
Finally, the city’s okay has come. Now the state needs to weigh in.
That green light information was transmitted to the state from the city last week. Henrici and business owner Scott Howard are now waiting for the state to inspect the space before it can open. “This store could open up in a week or two. We have no idea,” said Heirici. But he was certain that the day the state approves the venue, SeaWeed Co. will be open. The product will be here and so will the staff.
SeaWeed Co. applied to the city by its deadline last August 31, 2020. Howard and Henrici had hoped to be open last year. But the city required a lot of requirements to get a license that it did not carefully think through. For example, the city required a surety bond in the amount of $5,000. No one knew how to do that. It took the city three weeks to figure out how to do that.
The state has many, many requirements in order for applicants’ to obtain approval. But the city has added its own level of requirements because “the state’s requirements were not suffcient,” according to Henrici. “I think the state had plenty.” The state is particularly interested in security around the venue. There are 22 cameras inside the 1,900 ft. bright and welcoming space and 3 cameras on the outside of the building. The interior was designed by California architects, Maam, who specialize in creating the atmosphere Howard wanted.
Howard, an entrepreneur who also owns Olivia Gardens, has a recreational venue that is open in South Portland. It’s at 185 Running Hill Road. He also owns a manufacturing facility that converts resin into a cannabis concentrate. “We have a good portion of the Maine market for adult use,” said Henrici.
“It’s taken extreme patience to get through this process,” Heinrici said. “But the patience has paid off.” He’s been putting in 10 to 12 hour days. So much of that time has been in front of his computer. “Just when you think you’ve sent the last document, they want five more documents,” said Henrici of the intense hours he spends at his computer. “They know everything there is to know about our company.”
“I just made an appointment with my eye doctor. My eye sight is failing from over browsing documents, emailing anyone and everyone required,” said Henrici,41, grinning. “I couldn’t get an appointment until June though.” Henrici graduated from Bates College and has a Master’s degree in Industrial Design which is extremely useful these days when it comes to creating packaging and all of the other responsibilities he has taken on.
When finally open, SeaWeed Co. will be open four days a week – Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The city’s spokeswoman has not responded to an email request from mhn.com for the names of other recreational facilities that might have received approval along with SeaWeed Co. in the recent past.