Three organizations have filed applications to be the one state-approved medical marijuana dispensary in the Midcoast.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services will authorize eight dispensaries, one in each of eight public health districts created by the state. Waldo County is part of District 4, which covers Knox, Waldo, Lincoln and Sagadahoc counties.

The Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services in the Department of Health and Human Services announced June 25 that it had received 29 applications from nonprofit corporations to become dispensaries under Maine’s Medical Use of Marijuana Act.

Of the three applications for dispensaries in District 4, only one, from Northeast Patients Group, lists an address in the district, 153 County Road in Thomaston.

Rebecca DeKeuster, CEO of Northeast Patients Group, said NPG is based in Augusta, and the Thomaston address is a prospective location for the dispensary.

Asked how many patients the dispensary would serve, DeKeuster said she didn’t know yet.

“It could be 12, it could be 100 … We don’t really know how many medical marijuana patients there are in Maine right now,” she said. “We certainly don’t think it will be a high volume store.”

DeKeuster said the marijuana would not be grown in Thomaston, but that NPG has identified a facility in Hermon that could serve as a growing site for one or more NPG dispensaries.

NPG has also filed applications with the state to operate dispensaries in District 2 in Portland, District 3 in Auburn or Poland, District 5 in Waterville, and District 6 in Hermon.

As to what the environment of a dispensary would be like, DeKeuster said she saw it as a “clinical, yet welcoming atmosphere,” with a check-in area, private rooms and peaceful music playing. The dispensary itself would be a small part of the facility.

“We’re not talking about barbed wire. Patients need to come to an environment that’s healing,” she said.

DeKeuster said NPG initiated conversations with the town of Thomaston and found a location in the appropriate zoning district, partly in response to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services’ commitment to the “acceptability” of an application.

If NPG’s application is approved, DeKeuster said she hopes to contract with local alternative medicine providers to offer free services to clients of the dispensary.

The state is slated to make its dispensary selections by Friday, July 9.

“This completes the first phase in the process to assist registered patients under a physician’s care to obtain marijuana for certain serious medical conditions,” a Department of Health and Human Services news release sent out on June 25 stated.

A panel of four people will review and score each application, based on the criteria outlined in the application instructions for dispensaries. Applicants must address a variety of topics, including the plan to operate as a nonprofit corporation in the long term, convenience of location, prior business experience, patient education, record keeping, inventory, quality control, security and staffing, according to the state news release.

The other applications for a District 4 dispensary are from the Maine Wellness Group and Ahead Care.

Telephone calls were made to these two companies. At press time, neither had responded.

The chief executive officer for the Maine Wellness Group is listed as Igor Rakuz of Windham. The Maine Wellness Group has also filed applications for dispensaries in District 1 in Saco and District 2 in Portland.

The chief executive officer for Ahead Care of Farmingdale is listed as Lucas Sirois of Sanford. Ahead Care has also filed applications for dispensaries in District 1 in Sanford and District 3 in Wilton.