Zoning change requested in West Tisbury to accommodate a marijuana dispensary

Zoning change requested in West Tisbury to accommodate a marijuana dispensary

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Susan Sanford, owner of Vineyard Complementary Medicine, will seek a change in West Tisbury zoning bylaws that would allow her to operate a licensed marijuana dispensary cultivation facility in the North Tisbury mixed business area where her current business is located.

Ms. Sanford made the request in a letter to selectmen that asked that the bylaw change be placed on the warrant for an upcoming special town meeting. She also asked for a special permit for cultivation in a maximum 1,000-square-foot area.

At their meeting on Wednesday, September 18, selectmen agreed to forward the request to the planning board.

Ms. Sanford also owns Greenleaf MV Compassionate Care Inc., one of four entities in Dukes County that cleared the first hurdle in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) regulatory process for opening a medical marijuana dispensary on Martha’s Vineyard last week.

During the discussion that followed, selectman Richard Knabel asked, “This doesn’t mean we are in favor of the request?”

Town administrator Jennifer Rand said the process of forwarding a request from the selectmen to the planning board is standard procedure when zoning change requests do not originate with the planning board. She said that the planning board would schedule a public hearing on the issue. The planning board does not meet until September 30. The special town meeting is scheduled for November 5.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Island businessman Geoffrey Rose of Patient Centric of Martha’s Vineyard Ltd., another marijuana dispensary applicant, said he supports the proposed zoning change.

In a phone call with The Times, he said that his business has leased the former Up-Island Paint and Tool building, also in the North Tisbury business district, from which his new business would operate. “I support the zoning change,” he said, “but I do not think a 1,000-square-foot area will be enough room to grow the marijuana needed to supply the Vineyard’s needs.” Mr. Rose’s business also cleared the first DPH hurdle.

In other business, the selectmen voted to accept a conservation restriction on the recent Land Bank Flat Point Farm purchase and accepted a gift of $25,000 from the friends of the West Tisbury library for the purchase of furniture for the renovated library which is scheduled to be finished early in the new year.