‘Papi Cannabis’ seeks to hit a home run in Maine

April 13, 2023 · News Center Maine

David Ortiz is probably best known around New England for hitting home runs for the Boston Red Sox. But the MLB Hall of Famer will soon be known by some Mainers for his cannabis company.

‘Papi Cannabis’ recently launched products in Massachusetts, and starting Thursday, they will be on sale in Maine. Ortiz partnered with JAR Cannabis to help the expansion into Vacationland.

“It was a little bit surreal the way the whole process started,” JAR Co-Founder Joel Pepin said. “Even if you weren’t a huge sports fan, we all know who David Ortiz is.”

JAR will be selling the ‘Sweet Sluggers’ blunts in all of its four retail stores in Maine. Pepin said the company will also be sending the products to more than a dozen other adult-use and to some medical shops across the state.

“If you’ve been in New England at all in your life, you know who Big Papi is. It’s maybe the most exciting cannabis news to come out in a while,” JAR’s Portland Retail Store Manager David Surkin said.

This news comes after another strong month for adult-use cannabis stores. Adult-use shops can sell products to anyone over the age of 21 in Maine.

In March, data from the Office of Cannabis Policy shows more than $16M worth of products were sold that month. So far this year, dispensaries around the state have sold more than $45M worth of products.

As those numbers are expected to increase during the busy summer tourism season, consumers may not realize the science that goes into the process of cannabis cultivation.

At JAR’s production facility in Lewiston, thousands of plants are watched and monitored under a close eye. Each plant has a tag for regulators to track.

“This allows the state to see across all cultivation licenses, how many plants are grown, what stage of growth they’re at, what the harvest is at,” Pepin added.

All adult-use products need to meet state testing requirements before they can be sold at retail locations.

“Our main focus in this facility is consistent, high-quality production,” Pepin said. “We need to be efficient, and we have to pay attention to our costs.”

To help with efficiency, JAR and its team of growers and agronomists track every moment of a cannabis plant’s life as it moves through the harvest cycle.

Anastasios Alagialis is the head grower for the company and he came to Maine after working in tomato greenhouses in Greece.

“There’s a lot of work every day that we’re doing,” he said. “[The] cannabis industry, pretty similar with tomatoes.”

Despite the industry making big strides related to public opinion in recent years, Pepin said there is still a stigma around cannabis products.

But, he added, the partnership with Ortiz will help shift the perception of this industry in a big way. (Full Story)

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