Subscribe to stay up to date with the latest in Provincetown!
Subscribe to ptownie

    In Provincetown, Recreational Marijuana Thrives, and Stigmas Go to Die

    Recreational Cannabis Provincetown
    May 31, 2022

    Andrew Koudijs fell in love with Provincetown at a young age. Growing up, he would visit each summer for Family Week with his mothers, and quickly became enthralled with the town’s free spirit. So years later, when Koudijs was scouting spots to achieve his longtime dream and open a cannabis dispensary, his choice was easy.

    Last May, Koudijs and his business partner opened Hennep, located across from Crown & Anchor, one of Provincetown’s most cherished entertainment venues. Fittingly, the same live-and-live attitudes that allow Ptown’s nightlife to thrive are also a catalyst for the community’s booming recreational cannabis industry.

    After all, Provincetown has long been a place where stigmas go to die.

    “I was a [college] freshman when cannabis was legalized, and always wanted to start my own business. The first place I thought of was Ptown,” said Koudijs. “How great would it be on the beach, lovely town, lovely people. It wasn’t a business decision. It was a personal choice.”

    Nearly six years ago, Massachusetts voters legalized recreational marijuana by a 54-to-46 margin. But in Ptown, the initiative passed with an overwhelming 76.2 percent of the vote.

    The results weren’t surprising.

    “There’s the joke about Ptown’s relative lawlessness and being on the fringe and not being so worried about the 9-to-5, impressing the neighbors-type lifestyle, said Austin Tyler, a local cannabis enthusiast and comedy writer who’s worked at one of the dispensaries in town. “The culture is already kind predisposed to cut back, relax, and be yourself. And if cannabis is part of that, then there we go.”

    Indeed. There are now five dispensaries in Provincetown — b\well, Curaleaf, Hennep, Haven Center and Heal Inc. — and two more are awaiting licenses. Curaleaf was the first, opening its doors to Commercial Street in January 2020. That September, Karen Nash opened b\well, becoming the first locally owned dispensary in town.

    Looking for a new professional challenge, Nash became intrigued by marijuana when she started eating cannabis-infused gummies to alleviate nagging knee pain. At first, she found the shopping process nerve-wrecking. She felt like she was buying drugs.

    It took some education to set her at ease. That’s why one of her utmost goals at b\well is normalizing the weed-buying process.

    “The way we’ve done it here in the store is by making people feel welcome, and having very educated ambassadors and educators,” Nash said. “When people come in and are like, ‘I’ve never done this before,’ or ‘I haven’t done this since college,’ we’re like, ‘OK, tell us what you’re looking for, or what you want to experience.’”

    At Hennep, Koudijs also prioritizes in-store instruction. “With anything, stigma is a lack of education and a lack of knowledge,” he said. “Breaking down those walls and giving real information helps combat that.”

    Every summer, tens of thousands of revelers visit Ptown to celebrate its various theme weeks: Bear Week; Girl Splash; Carnival. Many of them have their favorite nightlife venues. Stephan Hangst, the executive director of the business guild, envisions a similar culture developing around the dispensaries in town.

    “You’ve got your people that love Paramount. You’ve got your people that love A-House. You’ve got your people that love Purgatory, and everyone sort of has their thing that appeals to them,” he said. “Same thing happens with the dispensaries.”

    Every community with dispensaries enjoys the revenue windfall that comes along with legalized weed. But to the people of Provincetown, recreational marijuana represents more than tax dollars. It is part of the culture.

    This year, Mackenzie Miller, who’s been performing in Ptown for 14 years, is putting on her second “4/20 Henny” production, a three-night show live from the Crown. The self-described “sativa diva,” Mackenzie says the creative powers of marijuana hold a special place among some of the town’s artists, including herself. “There’s a lot of us that get together and get stoned and get creative,” she said. “It just lets my guard down, and I kind of just enter this fearless Wonder Woman feel.”

    With that in mind, it makes sense that Ptown is leading the way on the next issue regarding legalized marijuana use: cannabis cafes. Technically, there are no legal public locations for people to light up the pre-roll they just purchased at b\well or Hennep. State senator Julian Cyr, who represents Provincetown, is sponsoring a bill to legalize consumption sites.

    “Every year Provincetown sees an influx of visitors eager to visit our cannabis dispensaries, only to realize they may not have anywhere to legally consume the products they purchased,” he said in a statement. “Social consumption sites would provide adults with public locations to consume cannabis in communities that want them.”

    Ptown is one of those communities. At this rate, marijuana will soon be synonymous with our little enclave of tolerance, just like daddies and drag queens.

    “There are dispensaries everywhere, and nobody is going to look at you like you’re some stoner in a tie-die shirt with a bag of Doritos,” said Nash.

    More Recent Provincetown News

    Art We Love – More than Meets the Eye
    September 9, 2022
    Art We Love – More than Meets the Eye
    The first impression a piece of art makes when you walk into a gallery can be thrilling.  But sometimes what’s even more exciting is discovering that what you see up close is not at all what you thought you saw from afar. All of the pieces here had that...
    The Lemonade Girl
    April 21, 2022
    For more years than many of us can remember, summers in Provincetown weren’t complete without the sight of a little girl walking up and down Commercial Street, calling out in a lovely singsong voice, “Lemonade! Fifty cents! Lemonade!” That little girl...
    Fashion Makers Give “First Look”
    May 24, 2023
    First Look Provincetown
    First Look- An Evening Celebrating Provincetown Fashion   Join the Provincetown Art Society as they welcome the start of summer with “First Look – An Evening Celebrating Provincetown Fashion”. On Friday, June 2nd from 5-7 pm, six of...
    Real Estate Update May 2023
    ptownie - Real Estate May
    Real Estate Update There are plenty of folks out there looking for houses and condos on the Outer Cape—but inventory is still not abundant. We always provide the numbers so you smart people can look for yourselves and see what the market is doing. It’s...