From the Portland Phoenix:

Despite Portland’s intention to approve three dozen recreational marijuana businesses last October, city officials still haven’t issued any licenses.

“They have one year from the date of application to receive approval from us,” Jessica Hanscombe, the acting director of permitting and inspections, said in a brief email.

.... Jessica Oliver, senior vice president of operations at Sweet Dirt, another pot business waiting for approval, said they hope to open sometime this month because there is only one more city inspection outstanding.

Oliver said it has been a long process in Portland, including a series of City Council meetings over a proposed matrix system for awarding licenses. 

“The city was just trying to be mindful and respectful of other local businesses,” she said. “There’s a component of fear when a marijuana business comes in. But what we’re doing is being able to provide jobs to restaurant workers who are out of work during the pandemic, and pay people good wages. I think Portland will appreciate us … It was a long road to get the licensing process, but now that we’re in it and Portland figured out their wants and needs, it’s been coming along.”

Sweet Dirt, which is in the former Wok Inn restaurant building on Forest Avenue at Morrill’s Corner, has a Waterville store that has been open since Dec. 8. Oliver said the shop has been doing well, and they expect to be similarly received in Portland.

She said they weren’t completely frustrated with the Portland process, although procuring real estate was a frustrating component.

“We were lucky to get locked into the old Wok Inn,” Oliver said. “We had to put a lot of investment into that, and there were some upfront costs that created challenges.”

She said the frustrating part now is the uncertainty of an exact opening date, which prevents them from being able to advertise the business. 

“We’re a local company that’s been building to where we’ve been able to operate, to be able to finally open these stores with a locally owned, Maine-run organization, and we’re really excited and happy to be able to provide jobs in this environment,” she said. 

Read the entire article here: