GARDINER, Maine -- If you visit the city of Gardiner, you may notice a little less debris along the streets and sidewalks.
That's because dozens of people spent a sunny Saturday collecting trash all over town.
The incentive? Free marijuana.
“Bring us back the full trash bag, and we give them a gift of cannabis,” said Dennis Meehan, owner of Summit Medical Marijuana in Gardiner.
He and his family are using their brand new business to clean up the community.
“[I heard of it in] Colorado - there was a town that did this,” said Meehan. “They had a great response to this. So I was hoping to do the same thing in Maine.”
How it works: grab a trash bag, fill it with trash from around town, return it to the store, and get your bag of marijuana free of charge.
Meehan says he knows it’s not a great business model to give away free things, but says he’s helping people. “Something that caregivers do all across Maine that very few people know about is that they make huge sacrifices every week to help others live a better quality of life,” he said.
For Meehan and his family - this day of service isn't only about cleaning up the town, but educating people about what he says is a life-changing substance. “It's profound,” said Meehan. “The research. There's a whole world of science out there. If you started the research today, 10 years from now you'd still be doing the research…When you see this plant have an incredibly life changing impact on somebody that has given up on life, or somebody that has been given up on by modern medicine - and you can bring them back to life and give them a quality of life. It doesn't just affect that patient, it affects every single person in the family.”
Meehan and his family hope to extend the day of service to the whole state soon.
Gardiner was one of the towns considering a moratorium on the sale of recreational marijuana before the statewide moratorium was approved.
"Gifting" marijuana is currently legal.
Meehan made sure his customers were 21 years old before giving them their prize.
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