West Tisbury selectmen unanimously approved a host community agreement with marijuana entrepreneur and Patient Centric CEO Geoff Rose to build an adult-use cannabis outlet at 501 State Rd.
After being reviewed by town counsel, the agreement came back to selectmen Wednesday night, who tweaked some language.
As part of the agreement Rose offered the town an annual contribution of no less than $5,000 to an Island-wide charity or nonprofit. In addition to that contribution, Rose will also donate $2,500 to a nonprofit specializing in education and prevention programs to promote safe, legal, and responsible marijuana use. The agreement said Rose “shall make annual voluntary contributions,” but selectmen Kent Healy and Jeffrey (“Skipper”) Manter altered the word “shall” to “may,” feeling the town shouldn’t mandate donations. Selectman Cynthia Mitchell disagreed, saying Rose came to the town with that offer.
“It is required,” Manter said. “It says ‘shall.’”
“But this is their offer. They’re writing it in,” Mitchell said.
“Then they can come in the door with a check and we’ll vote to accept it like any other organization. I’m just uncomfortable with this,” Manter said.
“I think this is lovely. I think we should take it,” Mitchell said.
Selectmen then voted 2-1 to change the wording, with Mitchell voting against it.
Rose said whatever the wording the town chose, he would commit to the voluntary contributions. “I’m going to do it anyway,” Rose said.
Manter then pushed Rose to establish the hours of operation for the facility. “I just think the character of our community is at stake with a lot of things that are going on,” Manter said. “I think there should be some parameters to maintain the quality of life in our community.”
Rose said he had no problem not opening before 9 am and closing no later than 8 pm, adjusting hours for daylight savings.
Rose currently operates a cannabis propagation facility on Dr. Fisher Road in West Tisbury. The approved host community agreement now greenlights Rose’s plans to open an adult-use cannabis outlet on State Road near his medical dispensary.
Unlike the host community agreement for his medical dispensary or grow facility, the adult-use facility’s host community agreement must be approved before an application could be made to the town’s zoning board of appeals. This is in 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 and the town also negotiated a $20,000 deposit for the first year as part of the host community impact fee. The impact fee will be 3 percent of gross annual sales; the $20,000 will be credited to the first annual payment. At year’s end, Rose will remit the remainder of whatever the actual percentage amounts to.
In other business, town administrator Jennifer Rand informed selectmen that Attorney General Maura Healey approved the “bottle ban” passed by West Tisbury voters at annual town meeting in April.
The bylaw, championed by a group of Island fifth and sixth graders under the name Plastic Free MV, will prohibit the sale or distribution of plastic soda and water bottles less than 34 ounces. The law will go into effect May 2020. The bylaw was also passed in Aquinnah and Chilmark.
“Those kids have done something which has not been done in this country. They are the first ones to make it happen, and I think it’s an impressive show of what kids can do,” Rand said. “It may still be challenged, but it’s an exciting piece of legislation, and I’m excited that we are on the front of it.”