Bangor’s third recreational cannabis retail shop opened on Friday, less than a mile down the road from the city’s second shop, which opened this winter.
Theory Wellness, a Massachusetts-based cannabis dispensary with recreational shops in Waterville and South Portland and two recreational shops in Massachusetts, opened on Friday at 569 Stillwater Ave., in the same development as Chipotle Mexican Grill and Sport Clips.
Thomas Winstanley, Theory’s director of marketing, said the company’s rapid expansion into Maine — with three stores since the state allowed recreational marijuana sales last fall — is due to founders Brandon Pollock and Nick Friedman having deep ties to the state, as both graduated from Colby College. The company has also opened a production facility in the state, with a large growing operation now in Waterville that supplies its three Maine shops.
“We love Maine. And we love the active lifestyle here. We think cannabis goes really well with a lot of those outdoor activities,” Winstanley said.
The Bangor shop will sell traditional marijuana (“flower”), as well as pre-rolls, vaporizers, concentrates, edibles, tinctures and accessories. For its first weekend open, Theory Wellness will donate 25 percent of its sales to the Bangor Farmers Market, to support its efforts to connect low income families in the Bangor area with locally-grown food.
Theory Wellness joins Brothers Cannabis as the second recreational shop on Stillwater Avenue. In February, Brothers, owned by Maine brothers Greg and Matt Hawes, opened at 469 Stillwater Avenue, in the same development as Hobby Lobby and Buffalo Wild Wings. The two stores are less than a half-mile from each other.
Winstanley said there’s plenty of room for more retail shops in the Bangor area and in Maine in general, as the cannabis industry grows.
“Our focus is definitely inward, and on running the best operation possible,” he said. “Ultimately, there is room for everybody. This is definitely a growth industry. And the more shops that open, the better, because that means the demand is there.”
According to Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy, there were $2.5 million in recreational marijuana sales in the state in January 2021, a 92 percent increase from sales in November 2020, which was the first full month of recreational sales.
While Theory Wellness’ core audience is cannabis consumers under the age of 35, Winstanley said they are always surprised by the diversity of people that come through the doors of their other Maine stores.
“We have had a little old lady, 80 years old, walk in and ask for a pre-roll of Dank Sinatra,” he said, referring to a particular cannabis strain. “I think there are a lot of people who have never used before, or who haven’t used since the 60s, who are trying it out. The audience is growing, and changing, and maturing. It’s fascinating to watch.”
The first recreational shop in Bangor, Firestorm, located at 1172 Outer Hammond St., opened on Oct. 9, 2020, the first day that recreational sales were allowed in the state of Maine. Owned by Bangor-area natives Moe Ibrahem and Salvatore Fero, Firestorm grows its cannabis at a separate facility, Allure Cultivation, located just down the road from the retail storefront.
According to Bangor’s department of code enforcement, a fourth recreational shop has received permits to open at 599 Broadway and is currently under construction.