Updated on Sept. 30, 2020
WELLFLEET — The former South Wellfleet General Store sits vacant with tarped windows and dilapidated shingles, guarded by a chain-link fence and construction tape.
A similar sight can be found two and a half miles north at the corner of Main Street and Route 6, where a chain-link fence protects a newly refurbished former bank building.
The two sites are set to become Wellfleet’s first marijuana dispensaries.
Both Cape Cod Cannabis, at 1446 State Highway, and the Piping Plover, at 10 Main St., have received provisional licenses from the Mass. Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) and look to open their doors sometime this winter.
The provisional license is the third of four major licensing steps established by the CCC, which clears planned dispensaries for final inspections before they are authorized to open.
The Piping Plover received its license last winter.
“At this stage, we are just looking to wrap up construction,” said Zachary Ment, the company’s founder and managing member. “Once we have that, we will have an inspection by the CCC, which will get us onto the docket for the final license.”
The building that the Piping Plover is moving into was built in 1860. It formerly housed the Cape Cod Bank and Trust, which is why Ment first registered his business as “The Old Bank LLC” on CCC application forms.
Ment said the building “has a lot of connections with local people,” which is why he decided to restore it rather than knock it down. “It was in really, really bad shape,” he said. “We are literally rebuilding the place from the inside out.”
He is also installing solar panels and increasing the thickness of the walls to accommodate spray foam insulation.
Ment is hoping to have construction wrapped up by October or November, he said, at which point he can get on the list for a physical inspection by the CCC, which he hopes will take place around December.
Once the dispensary receives a final license, Ment can begin hiring staff and building his inventory. On the company website, other principals are listed as Michael Drayer, director of retail operations; Eddie Dominguez, director of security; and Trudy Vermehren, the owner of the Fox and Crow Cafe in Wellfleet, as strategic adviser.
If everything goes according to plan, Ment said, the Piping Plover will open in January.
Cape Cod Cannabis in South Wellfleet may open even sooner.
That new dispensary, in the former South Wellfleet General Store, could open as soon as October, according to Executive Officer Allan Kronfeld.
Cape Cod Cannabis received its provisional license from the CCC on Aug. 7, but has much less construction work to do than the Piping Plover.
“The work is mostly interior and cosmetic,” said Kronfeld, adding that it does include installing the CCC’s mandatory security system.
“Now, it’s just finishing renovations,” Kronfeld said. “The timeline will depend on [the CCC] for when the state will come inspect it.”
Cape Cod Cannabis is also in the permitting process for a cultivation facility in Mashpee, where the company wants to grow marijuana to supply its own stores and sell wholesale to other dispensaries.
“Our business model and overall objective is to be a vertical business,” Kronfeld said.
Being a cultivation facility, the Mashpee location has to go through a different set of approvals than dispensaries do.
Kronfeld said he hopes to see the Mashpee operation open by the fall of 2021.
A third potential pot shop in Wellfleet, Nature’s Alternative, intends to open next to the Dunkin Donuts store at Cove Corner on Route 6. Its provisional license is still pending.
The second marijuana store in Provincetown, B\Well at 220 Commercial St., run by Karen Nash, announced this week that it received its final license on Aug. 6 and would begin taking orders online on Friday, Sept. 4.
Earlier this year, Nash told the Independent that her market research led her to believe that Provincetown would generate $30 million to $35 million in marijuana sales per year, enough to support six cannabis shops.
The first marijuana store to open in Provincetown was Curaleaf, whose majority stakeholders are Russian oligarchs.