A medical marijuana dispensary is now open for business in Caribou.
Leo Trudel is the executive director of Safe Alternatives, which is the only licensed medical marijuana dispensary located in Aroostook County. There are only 8 dispensaries in the state of Maine.
"We provide specifically medical marijuana for patients. Many of them are chronic pain, some are glaucoma, cancer patients. There's rather a lengthy list of specific ailments we can accommodate for," said Trudel.
Safe Alternatives first opened in Frenchville, but then moved Eagle Lake and now has expanded it's business to Caribou.
"The primary reason for coming to Caribou/Presque Isle was because we saw a large percentage of our market over here. This allows for patients to have more direct access to us on a consistent basis," said Trudel.
The products Safe Alternatives provides include herbs, medicinals, edibles, topicals, and concentrates.
"The people that are coming in here have ailments. What they want is relief from their ailments," said Trudel.
In order to open Safe Alternatives in Caribou Trudel had to go through the Caribou planning board where they created a specific ordinance that the dispensary had to meet.
"Once we met the details of the ordinance we were issued a certificate," explained Trudel.
After opening, Trudel says the reaction from the community has been positive.
"We've had the chief of police here, we've had the fire department here in order to do inspections, as well as members of the board. I think over all it's been very positive," said Trudel.
But there are some that aren't too happy with the new business.
"I think we've proven that we are above board and this is a legitimate business it has nothing to do with the stereotype that has gone along with marijuana in the past." said Trudel.
Trudel also wants people to understand how much of a positive impact the dispensary can have.
"We can't cure anything, but we can help people with pain levels that might be at an 8 or a 9 out of 10. And they find that this can give them relief and brings it down to a more manageable level of say a 4 or a 5. And that's really what we're trying to do," said Trudel.
As the dispensary continues to be a 'safe alternative' for patients Trudel hopes he'll be able to open more dispensaries in the county soon.