The shadow of the Pilgrim Monument falls on Provincetown, Mass., on the tip of Cape Cod. (Julia Cumes, The Associated Press)

Cannabis on the Cape: How Massachusetts water towns will welcome weed

Medical Marijuana of Massachusetts will be the first of the state’s nonprofit organizations to open a dispensary on Cape Cod, recently announcing plans to begin operation in a small, nondescript building on Echo Road in Mashpee in late December.

It likely won’t remain the only one in the region for long.

There are medical marijuana dispensary applications pending for Dennis, Bourne, Brewster, Nantucket, Provincetown and Martha’s Vineyard. Six of those have been awarded provisional certificates of registration, which allows the owners to begin the lengthy design phase, which is closely monitored by the state Department of Public Health.

Provincetown, where residents have supported both medical and recreational marijuana, has two applicants with provisional certificates for medical marijuana and a third looking to secure one.

For some applicants, the process has been long and tough.

Jeffrey Roos, president of Mass Medi-Spa Inc., was one of those who applied for a license in the first application round in late 2013.

He wasn’t successful, but resubmitted applications for grow facilities and dispensaries for Nantucket and Norwell in 2015.

Mass Medi-Spa has secured provisional certificates for both locations. “It’s been a long road to get here,” Roos said. “I wish things would go a lot quicker.”

Mass Medi-Spa has planned a modest 5,000-square-foot cultivation facility on Nantucket, but Roos said the design phase “takes time and money.”

“We have most of the money but not all of it,” Roos said. “We hope to open by next summer. I know there’s a really big need for a dispensary on Nantucket.”

The William Noyes Webster Foundation was one of a small group of applicants that moved forward in the first round in June 2014. Yet the Barnstable-based nonprofit organization remains mired down in the application process and hasn’t yet opened its planned dispensary at 226 Great Western Road in South Dennis.

The organization will grow and process the medical marijuana in an existing building at 30 Industrial Park Road in Plymouth. Renovation of the grow facility began but then halted.

The nonprofit’s president, Jane Heatley, did not return several calls for comment, and neither did her attorney, Glenn Frank. Paperwork filed with the state Department of Public Health shows that Boston-based Weston Roots Assets LLC recently joined the nonprofit as an investor, and company representative Bryan Dank took a seat on William Noyes Webster Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Letters sent from the state Department of Public Health on Sept. 14 demand more information on Weston Roots.

The Haven Center, led by president Christopher Taloumis, has also been working for more than three years toward growing and dispensing medical marijuana on Cape Cod. Plans call for a cultivation facility in Bourne, which will produce medical marijuana for dispensaries in Bourne, Brewster and Fall River.

“We’re in the design phase,” Taloumis said. Calling the permitting and review process very complicated, he conceded it’s a lot of work. “It’s not like throwing an addition on your house.”

The state Department of Public Health is reviewing building plans. “The date for opening dispensaries will be sometime during the second quarter of 2018 at the outside,” Taloumis said.

Patient Centric of Martha’s Vineyard is moving closer to growing and dispensing medical marijuana in West Tisbury. After securing a provisional certificate in September 2016, president Geoffrey Rose focused on local approvals. “We were required to get a special permit for cultivation and for the dispensary,” Rose said. “We now have that. We were also subject to review by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission and we got approved.”

Rose will renovate leased space for medical marijuana cultivation in a building that has not yet been constructed.

“We’re hoping to open the dispensary in about a year to provide medical marijuana for Martha’s Vineyard.”

Medical Marijuana of Massachusetts had also been a candidate in the first round of licensing, but was cut from the state’s list of those moving forward in June 2014.

The organization ultimately won a court appeal and was able to move forward with three applications.

Medical Marijuana of Massachusetts now has a cultivation facility in Plymouth, growing medical marijuana for dispensaries in Mashpee, Plymouth, and a third location yet to be formalized.

Green Harbor Dispensary Inc. is looking to open a dispensary on Court Street in Provincetown. The nonprofit, which was awarded a provisional certificate Sept. 26, plans to grow medical marijuana in Middleboro, where it will also run a dispensary.

Heal Inc. secured its provisional certificate for a dispensary in Provincetown last March. It will be supplied with medical marijuana grown in Warren.

Mass Organic Therapy, which also hopes to open a dispensary in Provincetown by the second quarter of 2018, recently merged with Curaleaf Inc. It has not yet been awarded a provisional certificate for Provincetown, but the company is set to open a dispensary in Hanover on Oct. 16.

Information from: Cape Cod Times, Hyannis, Mass.