One reason the Cape may be so restrictive is a feeling that recreational marijuana shops are not in keeping with a certain type of “Cape Cod” style, Steven Bournemeier, a staunch opponent to legalized recreational marijuana and a long-time resident of Orleans, explained.
“Orleans, like Woods Hole and other towns, has a character to it: sort of a traditional seaside community, small, the character is not urban,” he said. “So that is potentially at risk if we were to introduce marijuana, or allow the towns to license marijuana retailers.”
He added that he isn’t entirely against legalizing marijuana, though he doesn’t think it’s an issue towns should have to regulate.
“What they probably should have done was create a state distribution system rather than delegating it to the local authorities,” Bournemeier said. “It just allows so much misunderstanding and contradiction and undercutting of what I believe was a well-intentioned effort to decriminalize marijuana.”
Last month, Mashpee became the first town on the Upper Cape in which residents voted to allow recreational marijuana stores. The town capped the number, for now, at one business. Aja Atwood, a Mashpee resident looking to create a cannabis-centered startup, says the new legislation doesn’t just mean positive things for potential marijuana retail businesses.
“Because there’s so many different types of licenses available with cannabis, it’s not just a retail shop,” she said. “There’s a cultivation license, which means you just grow… testing labs, manufacturing the product just to get it to the retail stores, that’s a whole separate process.”