Viewpoint: Retail marijuana should be considered in Bar Harbor 

By Sheryl DeWalt 

We are grateful that the Bar Harbor Town Council is beginning to take a look at the issue of retail marijuana sales in Bar Harbor. I would like to provide additional background information on the state issuance of the conditional retail dispensary license to Tree of Life Day Spa. 

Tree of Life Day Spa has been operating on Cottage Street for over 15 years. We are members of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce and Bar Harbor Merchants Association. The spa is run with a commitment to excellence and the use of natural, sustainable products. Our business has been employing island residents in year-round positions since inception in 2002 and training many local residents to become licensed massage therapists through the Acadia School of Massage since 2007. 

As we all know, 2020 has been a difficult year in Bar Harbor. The pandemic restrictions and forced closures created many hardships on local businesses. Thankfully, we have had the ability to keep all our employees employed and bring on some new staff this summer. We currently rent three properties from Bar Harbor residents/landlords and we have been fortunate enough to have kept those bills paid as well.  

This summer we were happy to merge with another local business that shares our commitment to excellence and natural products – Salon NaturELLES. The salon has operated as a year-round business in this community since 2014, but the pandemic was going to force its permanent closure, causing more lost jobs and leaving another empty store front. Because of the merger, we are instead in the process of recruiting new hires for both businesses.  

At both Tree of Life Day Spa and Salon NaturELLES, we are committed to providing organic health and wellness services to the residents and visitors of Bar Harbor.  We utilize CBD products at our businesses and have had many clients requesting retail products that contain THC. It was the  request of several of our local clients  that made us consider  expansion to add a retail marijuana dispensary. We began the process by obtaining our provisional license from the state and are ready to work with the local government on the next steps. 

We would like to thank the town council members for allocating the time at the Oct. 6  meeting to provide careful consideration of our application. We would like to note that we recognize the physical address on the application does not meet the conditions under the state regulations. As such, we are currently  in the process of locating another site that meets the guidelines as defined in Title 20-A, section 1, subsection 24 of the regulations. We appreciate the council member’s insightful comments, sincere concerns and pledge of commitment to continue to navigate this process. We understand this will be a lengthy process.  

As a business owner of several longestablished businesses in Bar Harbor, we remain committed to this community. Our intentions are to remain true to our mission in providing our clients with excellence in services while taking mindful consideration in using organic and healthy products that help to protect the health of the planet and the people on it. We  truly believe we will have the support of the diverse and accepting residents who have continually shown their dedication to build and grow the community focusing on environmental preservation, quality of life and health and wellness. 

We plan to have a retail establishment that Bar Harbor can be proud of. 

Sheryl DeWalt resides in Hampden and is the owner of Tree of Life Day Spa, The Acadia School of Massage and Salon NaturELLES in Bar Harbor. 

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