Keep the medical marijuana business local

To the Editor:

On January 31, the Department of Public Health (DPH) selected 20 of 100 applicants to receive provisional licenses for an RMD (registered marijuana dispensary). Because the DPH established a qualifying score, no applicant was selected in Dukes or in three other counties (Berkshire, Franklin and Nantucket). We, Patient Centric of Martha’s Vineyard, scored the highest among the Dukes County applicants and highest among the four counties.

However, there were six applicants who received a qualifying score and were not selected in the county for which they applied. This was due to either geography or another applicant receiving a higher score. These six applicants have been “invited to seek alternate locations” in the four counties. Among this group of applicants are operators of dispensaries in Colorado and Arizona.

As part of the application process, we exercised our option to have our application reviewed, and we met with the DPH on February 14. We reviewed each question where we did not score maximum points and provided information that appeared to have been overlooked in the initial evaluation. It was pointed out that we lacked a letter of support or non-opposition from the town in which we proposed our RMD. This would have added several points to our score.

Subsequently, we were advised by a DPH official that gaining a letter of support or non-opposition would do no harm in the review. Returning to the West Tisbury selectmen to request the letter, we pointed out that, 1) not issuing such a letter would assure that an off-Island applicant would be awarded the license, and that 2) there would be a significant reduction in job creation. These off-Island applicants have cultivation sites elsewhere and would operate a dispensary only. Our staffing projections showed a difference at the end of the third year of operation of between five full-time employees for an off-Island operator and almost 14 for Patient Centric of Martha’s Vineyard. The selectmen agreed and issued a letter of non-opposition, which was forwarded to the DPH. The letter stated that the selectmen believe that “local management of an RMD is important to the integrity and overall success of the operation.”

On Friday, March 21, we received a letter from the DPH that the review process is moving forward. We will continue our efforts to keep the RMD Local. We hope that all others involved in this process will do the same.

Geoff Rose

Chief Executive Officer

Patient Centric of Martha’s Vineyard

West Tisbury