Smoke on the water: Pot shops on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket sue over shipping rules

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission frowns upon shipping marijuana by sea because the state government controls only slim channels, presenting a challenge for dispensaries on the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket

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While marijuana is legal across Massachusetts, logistical questions have Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket in a cloud of uncertainty.

Geoff Rose owns Island Time on Martha's Vineyard. His dispensary serves both medical and recreational needs. But instead of a consistent flow of customers, Rose has been turning people away after the lone cultivator on the island closed its doors.



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"The regulations were never written to think about transportation over the water," said Rose.

Pivoting away from local product is no easy task. The Cannabis Control Commission frowns upon shipping marijuana over the water, mainly due to the slim channels controlled by the state government.

Rose and others say it's high time for a change.

"I felt the only way to get immediate action was to file a lawsuit," said Rose.

Joining him in that action is The Green Lady on Nantucket, which cultivates its own product, but supports Rose's lawsuit and points to the Biden administration's efforts to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug as reason for fewer restrictions.

"We will be able to take a van on the ferry like any other business that operates on the island," said Nicole Campbell of The Green Lady. "It's going to happen eventually."

The Cannabis Control Commission writes in a statement that it has "been discussing what may be possible in terms of extending additional accommodations."

Until that time, Rose says he's ready to fight for his business.

"We have to serve those patients, as well as the adult-use community," said Rose. "We can't have them go to the illegal market."

The Cannabis Control Commission says it plans to hold a public meeting on Martha's Vineyard regarding this issue in the coming weeks.

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