FRYEBURG, Maine — The Fryeburg Planning Board on Feb. 23 approved the expansion of CBW Labs, which makes and sells CBD products in Fryeburg to becoming a retail medical cannabis dispensary.
CBW, located at 285 Main St., Suite 8, where Curves used to be, is owned by Dan Tepe of Fryeburg and Barry Kallander of Denmark, Maine. The current facility is about 4,000 square feet. They plan to add 1,000 feet of retail space.
CBW Labs has three employees, not including Kallander, who is a director of the company.
CBW Labs currently sells CBD-infused products like salves and massage oil. They have also been manufacturing medical cannabis products for other dispensaries to sell. All the products are made right at the lab in their commercial kitchen.
“With our expansion that we recently got our approval for, we’ll be able to do medical cannabis retail at this location as well,” said Tepe, who runs the lab and handles day-to-day operations of the business.
Tepe was a biology teacher at Kennett High School in the early 2000s. Since then, he worked in construction and as real estate investor. He became involved in the cannabis business three years ago.
Asked why he got into cannabis, Tepe said, “I was excited about the new opportunities available. I wanted to get back to using my science background and thought that I had a lot to offer to this industry.”
Tepe said the CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are extracted from cannabis with a “unique” process that involves no harmful solvents. Instead of harsh chemicals, they use carbon dioxide and high pressure between 1,200 and 1,800 pounds per square inch.
When the CO2 is compressed, it turns into a liquid that becomes a solvent that removes the CBD and THC from the plant.
“When the pressure is taken away, the solvent effectively disappears,” said Tepe, adding that the cannabinoids get deposited in another vessel in their apparatus.
All of the plants they use for their CBD products comes from Kallander’s farm in Denmark.
The expansion will consist of a 1,000-foot retail space for medical marijuana products that contain THC. The expansion will be next to the lab in Suite 6 at 285 Main St.
The expansion project will include new flooring, building a wall and security upgrades.
To purchase medical marijuana products with THC in them, customers will need to have a state-issued medical cannibis card.
One does not need a medical cannibis card to purchase CBD products.
The owners hope to have the medical cannabis retail space up and running by April or May. Once it’s completed, they hope to hire two more employees to help them with the retail component of the business.
“We don’t intend to ever pay anyone less than $15 an hour,” said Tepe, adding that no one at the lab now makes less than $20 per hour.
CBW Labs is open to people 21 years or older. Their CBD products are carried at local stores like Spice & Grain on Portland Street.
For more information, call (207) 256-3082.