West Tisbury learns adult-use pot has different approval path

Geoff Rose of Patient Centric is seeking to make a host community agreement with the town of West Tisbury. - Rich Saltzberg

Marijuana entrepreneur Geoff Rose came before West Tisbury selectmen Wednesday to field questions from the board about a draft host agreement before that document is sent off to town counsel for review.

Through his company Patient Centric, Rose operates a cannabis propagation facility on Dr. Fisher Road in West Tisbury, and will soon open a medical dispensary on State Road in West Tisbury. Rose aims to open an adult-use cannabis outlet on State Road, nearby the medical dispensary. A key document to achieving that is a host community agreement. Rose explained to the board that unlike the host community agreement for his medical dispensary or grow facility, the adult-use outlet’s host community agreement must be approved before an application can be made to the town’s zoning board of appeals. This is essentially the reverse order from the medical dispensary agreement approval chain, in which the zoning board, other town boards, and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission weighed in before the deal was signed. 

Rose asked the board how soon they thought they would be able to move forward on the agreement. 

“We’ll move at the speed of our attorney,” chairman Skipper Manter said. 

“Unlike with the medical dispensary, the host agreement — under the adult-use licensing process,” Rose said, “it is required that the host community agreement be negotiated prior to the application being submitted. So it’s a prerequisite. So the timing from my perspective is sooner than later.”

Town administrator Jennifer Rand told the board there is a 3 percent gross sales fee folded into the host community agreement.

“What amount do we see that as being?” Manter asked. 

Rose didn’t throw out a figure.

“The idea, Skipper,” Rose said, “was just to offer the maximum that’s available.”

Rose later told The Times he and the town will negotiate a deposit based on what the gross sales are estimated to be, and then at year’s end, Rose will remit the remainder of whatever the percentage amounts to. 

Speaking from the audience, Larry Shubert, vice chairman of the zoning board, reminded the board the commonwealth intends to tax adult-use cannabis at 20 percent, and 3 percent is available to host communities. 

“I believe that this host agreement is then renewed annually,” Shubert said.

Between the percentage the state kicks back and the amount it garners from the agreement with Rose, West Tisbury stands to receive up to 6 percent of the gross adult-use sales.

The board took no apparent issue with the need for the host community agreement to come first, and closed out the agenda item with the understanding they would sit down again with Rose once town counsel has evaluated the agreement.