It was all eyes on Patient Centric CEO Geoff Rose Thursday evening during a community outreach meeting at the Katharine Cornell Theater in Tisbury — the town where Rose is moving forward in his quest to obtain adult-use marijuana licensure on Martha’s Vineyard. The meeting fulfilled one of the many requirements set by the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) for recreational marijuana sales in Massachusetts.
In compliance with other CCC regulations, Rose secured a retail site before Thursday’s community outreach meeting. Last week, he told The Times he settled on unit 11 of Woodland Center — a business complex including Rise Dance Center, Woodland Variety and Grill, Vineyard Hearth, Patio and Spa, and Integrated Health Care.
The purpose of the mandated meeting is to “explain the proposed marijuana establishment use and provide information about potential impacts to the neighborhood and community as a whole,” according to the CCC website. A sparse but captivated audience digested about 20 minutes’ worth of information before firing back 20 minutes’ worth of inquiries, the majority of which ran along the lines of, “Can you pick another location?”
Limited parking, traffic, and the nearby kids’ dance studio were among the major pushback points abutters brought forward.
“I’m not opposed to this sort of thing, it’s just the wrong place,” said Patricia Giumarra, owner of Vineyard Hearth, Patio, and Spa.
Many asked how many people the proposed dispensary could serve at once, wondering where customers will wait. Dardy Slavin, owner of Integrated Health Care in unit 12, asked what kind of scrum it might create in an “already congested area.”
Rose said he didn’t know numbers yet, but is confident he can mitigate community concerns. Earlier in the presentation, he revealed a floor plan, which illustrated two secure entry points, a salesroom, checkout, and a separate express desk checkout so customers can order products online.
“We have the ability to direct and create timeframes for people to come in and pick up their online order,” Rose said. “We can get people in and out.” Rose also said he could be open by appointment and request that staff park offsite — he anticipates three to five employees working at once.
Rose also noted that while the license for home delivery doesn’t exist yet, by the time this operation is up and running, it’s “very likely” that it will. “I will do anything and everything I can to mitigate as best as I can,” Rose said.
“But what about the children?” was chief among the inquiries.
“There is well over 200 feet from the front door of Rise and the front door of Patient Centric,” Rose said. “If I were a parent, would I allow my daughter to walk from one side of the parking lot to the other? No, of course not. It’s a safety issue.”
“I disagree with that,” Slavin said. “There is a path for people to walk down.”
Rose said his chosen location is compliant with the town. He referenced a bylaw Tisbury passed in April 2018 allowing recreational marijuana establishments in the B-2 district by special permit. He also cited the town’s 62.2 percent vote in favor of marijuana for adult use in November 2016.
“I’m totally for it,” said Sande Weinstein, an Edgartown resident who attended the meeting.
Customers have to be 21 years or older to enter a retail adult-use marijuana dispensary. Customers have to show their IDs to get “buzzed in,” and again at point of sale. Sample products will be displayed in shatterproof case, and customer service representatives handle products for sale and final purchases. All products will be sold in plain, resealable, child-resistant packaging. Everything has to be labeled in compliance with the CCC, according to Rose.
“Patient Centric will not sell more than one ounce of marijuana flower, or more than five grams of edible concentrate, to a consumer per transaction,” he said. Rose also said education materials will be available, and will include side effects, strains, methods of administration, dosage, and substance abuse.
The CCC prohibits marketing and advertising — unless 85 percent of the audience is expected to be 21 or older. That means no Internet pop-ups or promotional items.
The store will be monitored by security personnel during all hours of operation. “Loitering, public consumption, and other nuisance behaviors will be prohibited on this site,” Rose said. Video surveillance will be present throughout the exterior of the store, and any interior that contains marijuana.
“We will work with local law enforcement to ensure the best possible surveillance coverage and to provide access to camera feeds,” Rose said.
All Patient Centric plants will be monitored from seed to sale. “From the time the plant is in its early grow stages, it’s given a barcode, and that barcode follows that plant through its entire life,” Rose said. “It’s a very sophisticated and detailed system.”
This is to prevent diversion, and to ensure Patient Centric staff and state officials have access to “intimate details about the life cycle of each plant, including each individual that has interacted with it during stages of growing, processing, transportation, and retail processes,” according to the presentation.
The cultivation site is still being determined. Rose hopes to operate out of Patient Centric’s medical cultivation facility on Dr. Fisher Road in West Tisbury. As far as getting product to the dispensary, Rose said Patient Centric has a van with secure compartments, locks, and cameras that will track and monitor every movement of the product. Rose said it would be transported to location prior to opening business hours, and all products will be prepackaged, limiting the potential for odor onsite.
Patient Centric must enter a host-community agreement with the town of Tisbury. The agreement determines annual tax revenue, agreements to participate in local town, business, nonprofit, and philanthropic organizations, and education and community outreach efforts.
“That is done through selectmen,” Rose said. “I made them aware of it. There will be an informal discussion at the selectmen’s meeting next week. They’re not prepared to present a host-community agreement, but I presume in reasonable time they will.”
There is another informal step being taken, Rose said. “We’ll meet with the planning board and start to understand what they’re looking for as we start the special permitting process.”