Tisbury says yes to weed

But removes Plastic Free MV bylaw from town meeting warrant.


Updated March 3

Vineyard Haven is the second town on the Island to agree to host a Patient Centric marijuana facility, joining West Tisbury.

With Patient Centric CEO Geoff Rose and his attorney Phil Silverman in the audience Monday, selectmen heard the details of the host community agreement, which will pay the town a onetime fee of $10,000, 3 percent of gross revenues, and whatever the building generates in property taxes. Patient Centric has also agreed to put $20,000 in the affordable housing trust fund, and $2,500 will be donated to a nonprofit of the board’s choice for marijuana education. The town will also receive a separate 3 percent excise tax imposed by the state on marijuana facilities.

Under the agreement, which was negotiated with Rose by selectman Jeff Kristal and town administrator Jay Grande, Patient Centric agrees to work with the town on making Mechanic’s Street, where the facility is to be located, an approved public way.

The marijuana facility, proposed for 15 Mechanic’s St., is subject to approval by the Cannabis Control Commission and local permitting. The commission has been investigating Rose’s ties with Acreage Holdings, a national marijuana conglomerate that provided a loan to Patient Centric.

“Thank you,” Rose said quietly as selectmen took their unanimous vote. Then, after the vote, the board and Rose signed the agreement.

“This is a real milestone for our community,” chair Melinda Loberg said.

When selectman Jeff Kristal joked it was a “high point,” Loberg suggested Mechanic’s Street might be renamed “High Street,” a nod to the fact that the board is also in negotiations with a second company, Main Street Medicinals, led by Noah Eisendrath, which is interested in a facility at 65 Mechanic’s St.

In answer to questions by selectmen about a so-called “sunset” of the host-community agreements after five years, Jon Silverstein, the town’s attorney, explained that there is legislation under consideration that could change that. Regardless, Patient Centric would either have to make another agreement with the town or it could no longer legally operate in town, he said.


Plastic Free bylaw removed

In other business, the board went through the town’s special town meeting and annual town meeting warrants to finalize them for the March 31 opening night.

The board voted unanimously to remove a proposal by Plastic Free MV, which was approved last spring by three up-Island towns, to ban the sale of single-use drinks in plastic containers under 34 ounces. Instead, the board supported a separate article, similar to one talked about in Oak Bluffs, that would set up an action plan. Selectmen amended that article to say that it would come up with a bylaw to manage the reduction of plastic.

Loberg referred to it as “not as draconian” as the Plastic Free proposal.

“I think the issue is real, but what concerns me is hampering our business community,” selectman Jim Rogers said. Rogers had a 12-ounce Poland Spring water in a plastic bottle in front of him as he made that statement.

Kristal said the town needs to come up with a plan. “Everybody is going to bring it over on the boat anyway,” he said.

“It’s disheartening, to say the least,” Annemarie Ralph, a West Tisbury teacher who has helped members of Plastic Free MV bring their message to Island towns, wrote in an email. She added that she would be meeting with the students to plan next steps, but pointed out they have been meeting with selectmen for the past year.

During a phone conversation Tuesday, members of the Plastic Free MV organization expressed frustration and disappointment at the move. Selectmen were officially closing the warrant ahead of town meeting, essentially running out the clock on the students.

“They’re interrupting our democracy and not giving the voters a voice in what they want for our future,” Elliot Stead, one of the students, told The Times.

It’s particularly disappointing since Plastic Free MV has met with selectmen four times since last June, Emma Bena, another student, said. “It was rather sneaky of them,” she said.

Ralph said the students had ordered postcards, and were in the process of getting a mailing list for voters to send them.

Quinlan Slavin expressed concern that it could set a precedent. Voters in Edgartown and Oak Bluffs are also slated to consider the ban. “We think it’s not fair,” he said.

The board also had a detailed discussion about a half-dozen articles that would establish and fund a capital, building, and infrastructure stabilization fund, using new revenue streams the town expects in the coming year, including the new funds from marijuana facilities, parking, short-term rental taxes, and fees.

Though there was some debate over how the funds should be divided between the stabilization fund and general funds, the board was unanimous about establishing a fund that could be used for building and infrastructure that’s been neglected.

Rogers said he liked the idea of “forcing us to put money someplace and not taking it out” unless it’s for building or infrastructure.

In some cases, like with the marijuana facilities, the town has no idea how much revenue will be generated.

Meanwhile, selectmen unanimously approved Police Chief Mark Saloio’s recommendation to hire two new police officers — Michael Cutrer and Julia Levesque. Both candidates were in attendance, with family and members of their new department in the audience.

Saloio praised them both as Island residents who went through the local schools. They were picked from among 23 applicants. Levesque is finishing up her time at the police academy, and Cutrer, a sheriff’s department employee, still needs to attend. The board approved a 270-day waiver so he can work during the busy summer season for the department. “We’re particularly happy to have two local candidates who grew up here, graduated from high school here. They have strong ties to the Island,” Saloio said.

Selectmen agreed to have Grande talk with Clarence (“Trip”) Barnes III about his used car dealer’s license after meeting for about an hour in executive session to talk about past legal cases involving his 300 State Road property. The town has held up the license, saying that Barnes illegally rents rooms in the building.

The Plastic Free MV kids weren’t the only ones sent packing Monday night. Selectmen had to turn away the drama club from the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School, which showed up to rehearse its upcoming show, “Back to the ’80s.” Heather Capece, director of the show, had booked and paid for use of the Katharine Cornell Theater for the rehearsal, and had 20 kids scheduled to show up.
“We made a mistake,” Grande said to her, saying she would have to cancel the rehearsal. Loberg started the public portion of the board’s meeting apologizing for the confusion. Selectmen rarely meet on a Monday night.

Updated to include comments from Plastic Free MV students. -Ed



  1. Wonderful. With all the pathology that already exists on MV the last thing we need is all powerful THC spreading throughout and into more kids hands.

  2. God forbid Martha’s Vineyard should embrace an opportunity to become a leader in the plastic free movement.

  3. I am trying to make sense of your comment. I would assume by saying Pathology you are referring to a social or mental abnormality. So now a legal cannabis store is going to contribute to the social and mental abnormality of our youth?!?! WHAT?!?! Also, Powerful THC…There is not one thing sold in a legal cannabis store that will permanently alter a person or their state of mind. Pharmacies and liquor stores on the other hand….this fearmongering stuff is out of control.

  4. fishback. Reasonable people who read the literature know that Marijuana for adolescents is dangerous. When their minds are till being shaped they are more vulnerable to addiction and THC levels are much greater than past generations. This is not fear mongering and legal is not the same as license. Yes liquor stores and pharmaceuticals in the hands of teens is also unwise. Fishback, at what age would you allow your sons and daughters to smoke weed. Is 10 too young or just ok?

    • andrew-random chemicals,pesticides, plastics and a warming planet have an adverse effect on teenagers also. Republicans in the white house and congress are also not beneficial to teenagers either.
      if you think teenagers can’t already get marijuana, you might as well believe the occasional resident of the white house and tell us that all the cases of covid-19 in the United States will be gone in a few days.

  5. While it’s true we can’t prevent people from bringing plastic over on the boat, I still think single-serving beverages are a convenience item that most grab while on the go, without a lot of planning ahead. Provide them with alternatives in better packaging, and I bet they’ll buy what’s being offered here. No one knows until it’s been tried. I’m unclear on how VH and OB hope to reduce plastic waste if they’re opposed to changing what’s for sale. Will be interested to hear their ideas.

  6. Sounds like the THC may have already caused issues for the children… like forgetting you rented out the meeting space. Par for the course in Tisbury.

  7. Plastic reduction in our environment requires a plan not a ban. It’s never a good idea to put regulation before innovation. The alternatives available boxed water, aluminum and glass all have a measurable and significant negative environmental impact as well. The single use plastic bottle ban simply shifts the environmental impact. The plastics problem was created over the last 65 years you can’t fix it overnight. The inpatients of the youth in this discussion is measurable and the ignorance of the consumers about the lack of viable environmentally responsible alternatives is clearly measurable as well. Conversation, education and a mitigation plan.

    • Pro Small Business, the Island has been having that conversation. For some time. We are having it now. What is your proposed plan? If there are better solutions, please share them. Maybe the ban isn’t the way to go, but I haven’t heard a word about what can be done instead. It’s easy to call people ignorant without actually explaining what you think should be done.

      I don’t see anyone saying plastic alternatives have zero impact on the environment. Would hope everyone is more realistic than that. Manufacturing in general has an impact. There are pros and cons to every material. Single-use anything is wasteful, but if we banned items of convenience altogether, customers would be unhappy. No business would support that, so some are trying to find a middle ground by suggesting alternatives. Any word from Island towns that have already done away with plastic on whether it’s hurt sales?

      Issues with disposable plastic have been known for decades. Efforts towards a solution are not of the overnight variety. In the meantime, the problem was allowed to get out of control. Too much resistance. Most importantly, the only way large companies will continue towards innovation is if there’s widespread public demand for change. Demand has to come first. I’ve seen this shift in the cosmetics industry over the last few years. Big time. Public pressure worked.

      I’m guessing plastic will always be necessary to some degree. Especially if we’re talking access to medical supplies, which I fully support. The invention of plastic allowed some to live fuller lives.

      But that doesn’t mean we need to wrap the stuff around every single thing we eat and drink. A staggering amount of waste.

    • small- you are correct that other forms of packaging have environmental impacts.
      you are also correct that this is a problem that has been a long time in the making.
      It sounds as if you think the best thing to do is nothing.
      Innovation is great, but you will not get innovation without some necessity. You will also have small minded people who don’t understand the bigger picture, and those people will always prefer to take the path that is cheapest and most convenient.
      In the 1970’S some forward thinking people came up with seat belts in automobiles. A great innovation.
      Lee Iaccoca assured us that if legislation was passed requiring that innovation to actually be installed in their cars, Chrysler corporation would go bankrupt and everyone would be out of a job. In the 50’s The Campbell soup company claimed it would be bankrupt in a year if they couldn’t pollute the Delaware river below Philadelphia with their waste.
      Here on the Vineyard , we were told that if smoking were to be banned in bars and restaurants, the tourism industry would collapse and no one would ever consider coming to the Vineyard.
      We need regulations, because as individuals, most sapiens are clueless as to the damage they cause.

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