WATERVILLE — A ribbon-cutting ceremony at Sweet Dirt on Kennedy Memorial Drive is planned for Monday morning to celebrate the opening of the first adult-use marijuana store in Kennebec County, according to staff.
Sweet Dirt, an Eliot-based company, will offer an array of products for adults 21 and older including dried flower, concentrates, edibles and ancillary products.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house event will be hosted jointly by the Kennebec Valley and Mid-Maine Chambers of Commerce and is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 7.
The store, located at 475 Kennedy Memorial Drive, will officially start selling product at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9.
“We’re feeling fantastic about this,” Rebecca Henry, vice president of marketing for Sweet Dirt said during a phone interview Friday. “It’s been a process.”
In July, the Waterville City Council voted to authorize Sweet Dirt’s adult-use store.
“The town of Waterville has been amazing to work with,” Henry said. “Everyone has been so supportive from code enforcement, to the mayor, both incoming and outgoing, the police department, the fire department. We’ve just felt fabulously supported and really welcomed. We’re really looking forward to being a part of the business community.”
According to Henry, Sweet Dirt is the first adult-use marijuana store to open in Kennebec County.
The company rented and renovated a 3,100-square-foot space that used to be home to the Pine Cone Gift & Furniture store, right off Interstate 95.
Sweet Dirt was employing around 20 people as of July, and the company planned on expanding its team throughout the next year.
Within the next 12 to 18 months, the company expects to employ between 125 and 150 people, Henry said July 23.
“We look forward to establishing Sweet Dirt as part of the Waterville business community and to bringing jobs to the city, region and state,” Jim Henry, Sweet Dirt’s chief executive officer said in a prepared statement. “Medical cannabis has long been a strong contributor to revenue in Maine. Legalized, adult use cannabis sales, along with a thriving, local medical cannabis market, will be an economic engine the State desperately needs at this time.”
Products from other Maine cultivators will be available to customers in addition to Sweet Dirt’s own organically grown cannabis, which has been dubbed ‘Certified Clean Cannabis’ by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.
The city has placed no limit on the number of marijuana businesses that may open in Waterville, and City Councilors have said they are allowing the market to drive the industry.
“It certainly is possible the city could establish a limit, but I think some people think it’s going to be market-driven,” City Manager Michael Roy said earlier this year. “If there’s over-supply and under demand, that itself will weed out a certain number of businesses.”
He noted at the time that several representatives of marijuana-related businesses who spoke to city councilors or Planning Board members said the city’s marijuana ordinance is comprehensive and easy to understand.
“A number of people who have come before us have been thankful the city has something in writing — guidelines and procedures — clear examples of the process and the cost and everything,” Roy said. “I think it was a very important step the city took in establishing the ordinance early on to get ahead of it.”
With the addition of Sweet Dirt, Waterville now has 10 marijuana facilities. There are four on College Avenue, two on Main Street, two on Armory Road, one on Kennedy Memorial Drive and one on Industrial Road.
Menus and store hours for Sweet Dirt can be found at sweetdirt.com.