Marijuana shop faces pushback

Traffic, parking, and proximity to kids’ dance studio among concerns raised with Patient Centric plans.

13
All eyes were on Patient Centric CEO Geoff Rose Thursday night in Vineyard Haven as he presented plans for a retail marijuana shop. - Brittany Bowker

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.

Retail practices

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.

Next steps

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.”

13 COMMENTS

  1. wow– this is a pot shop. With all the security and concerns, you would think he was applying for a license to sell something really dangerous, like alcohol.

  2. This proposed site is inadequate for this type of facility. Opening a dispensary of a Schedule 1 narcotic 200 feet away from a business that caters to our Island youth is foolhardy and is being driven by self serving desires by the owner. He does not care about the negative impact this would inflict upon the people and neighbors of the Woodland community and surrounding area. If the Martha’s Vineyard Commission is listening, this is a perfect scenario for their DRI review.
    Lastly, keep in mind that Mr. Rose can promise the world, but the reality is, he is not qualified nor has delivered a proven plan to mitigate the above referenced impact.

    • Using the fact that it is a schedule 1 drug as a reason to not open the dispensary is laughable. Fact is that marijuana(which is NOT a narcotic) was made a schedule one drug for many reasons, and none of them have to do with danger, or addictiveness. Do you really think it belongs beside heroin. Even cocaine, which is very addictive is schedule 2. You are talking about a facility which will be tightly regulated. In comparison to how the much more dangerous drug of alcohol is handled and delivered, the facility will be Fort Knox! Lastly, just imagine how many men/woman and young adults walk by you every single day who regularly use marijuana. They do so without you having a clue, and they buy it off the street – unregulated, and to anyone who has the money. I commend anyone who wants to bring a solid business to the island and replace an unregulated one which caters to all regardless of age.

      • Hmmm…
        1. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration and the International Narcotics Control Board designate marijuana as a schedule 1 Narcotic
        2. The proposed facility has a proprietor that has zero experience in narcotic regulation and mitigation of customers. A promise of tight regulation is a far cry from proper and regulated implementation – Where can these legally approved procedures be found for review? Nowhere
        3. Men/women and young adults operate vehicles on roadways that law enforcement officers arrest perpetrators daily – what’s your point?
        4. Just say No!

        • The DEA can call it whatever they want, but Cannabis is not a narcotic. Science disagrees with you. Anyone that has done more than a minute of research knows this.

      • Funny that your base assumption is people that consume regulated products only walk around. This will increase the number of impaired drivers on our roads. This business does not control for that aspect and before you all go crazy….there are no liquor stores next to schools or dance studios on the island, so please stop before you even start your story about kids going by liquor stores everyday. I always love when owners make statements along the lines of alternate parking for employees…..that would be at park and ride….Yup…they will love that on nice rainy days….there is a parking/traffic problem in this location and everyone know it. MVC DRI review please.

  3. How will the pot shop maintain its inventory? Will the marijuana cross federally controlled/owned waters? Will the marijuana be flown in through federally controlled airspace? Or will the marijuana be sourced locally… in which case, we don’t need a pot shop!

    • chillitup– do a little research about this — any research will answer your questions. i am quite amused/ incredulous that you would ask these questions.

  4. Just not a good location for the facility. Way too congested- i thought a building had been procured somewhere just past Up Island Cronig’s-Again i’m not at all opposed to the store-just the location-Thanks

    • tisberry– yup– you could be correct about the building in w.t– “not a good location” perhaps.
      so where is a “good location” ? perhaps no mans island ? how about at the proposed casino in Aquinah ? the tribe could ignore all rules, sell anything to anybody– make tons of money for wealthy investors who screw the tribe without the tribe even knowing it..

  5. The Airport Business Park appears a more suitable location than the Woodlawn community area. Less vehicle congestion, more parking, and not directly near Rise, a dance facility that has been established for children, and away from the Vineyard House, that services the recovery of addicts for this community.
    Since you are discussing community, keep in mind the greater good – “We is greater than me”

  6. I can’t get past the woman’s question “What kind of scum would it attract?” I take that as the “Real” reason they don’t want it there. It’s a dispensary, not a top less bar, or strip club! I can agree traffic wise it may not be the best place but it’s certainly not the worst either!

Comments are closed.

Previous articleGirls lax advance in states
Next articleBoys tennis beats Maimonides in quarterfinals