July 25 (UPI) -- The owner of a marijuana store in Maine is encouraging residents to help clean up their city by offering a reward -- free pot.
Dennis Meehan, who owns the Summit Medical Marijuana store in Gardiner with his wife, said a July 17 post offering free marijuana to anyone over 21 who participates in a community cleanup project and brings in a bag of trash went massively viral before the project began on Saturday.
He said he was worried he wouldn't be able to fill enough 1 gram bags to meet demand.
"The night before I was up all night putting together the bags. I hardly slept. We had people not just from Gardiner, but as far away as Bangor, Waterville, and across Southern Maine. It was incredible," Meehan told WMTW-TV.
He said he ended up handing out hundreds of dollars worth of marijuana for oversized trash bags filled with garbage.
Maine's recreational marijuana laws currently allow for "gifting" of cannabis, but a moratorium on selling the plant remains in place.
"Gifting marijuana is something my family has been doing for years as caregivers. A big part of Maine's marijuana program is making medicine available to people who otherwise may not have been able to afford it," Meehan said. "At the end of the day it isn't about money. It's about the need. It's about the community."
Meehan said he consulted with local officials and police before the giveaway and made sure those claiming their marijuana prize knew it was illegal to use in public places.
"I'm the kind of person who likes to keep things within the laws," Meehan told the Press Herald newspaper. "I talked to people ahead of time, about not using it in public. They weren't out in our town using cannabis."
Meehan said he is looking into partnering with other marijuana businesses to expand the program statewide.
"I'd like to see this become a thing in every community," Meehan said. "Because we love our state and would really like to see people come together. That's what we need as a state. We need unity."