Marijuana business owners sue state commission

Lawsuit seeks transport of marijuana across state waters. 

Geoff Rose has filed a lawsuit with a Nantucket dispensary against the Cannabis Control Commission. —MV Times

Updated May 22

Vineyard marijuana businessman Geoff Rose has filed a joint lawsuit with a Nantucket-based dispensary against the state Cannabis Control Commission in an effort to enable the legal transport of marijuana to the islands for commercial sales. 

The lawsuit, filed with the Suffolk County Superior Court on Tuesday, wants the state to allow dispensaries to ship marijuana to the Islands by boat, and not punish them for doing so. The plaintiffs are seeking an expedited hearing. 

“We’re at a critical juncture,” Rose said, who owns the cannabis store Island Time in Vineyard Haven. He jointly filed the suit with the Green Lady Dispensary on Nantucket. 

He said his business, as well as supplies for 234 medical marijuana users in Dukes County, are at stake unless a solution is found. 

Commissioners recently discussed whether to enact an emergency order to permit shipping marijuana on state-controlled waterways, where it is currently restricted. Marijuana is a controlled substance under federal law, and it is illegal to transport it across federal waters, such as Vineyard Sound. 

Fine Fettle in West Tisbury is the Island’s only legal marijuana grower, but it plans to shut its doors by September, cutting off the local source. It has already stopped growing marijuana on the Vineyard. 

The commissioners voted on May 9 to meet with Vineyard officials in June about the broken supply chain. 

Tim Swain, one of the lawyers representing the dispensaries, said the commission was contacted about the problem in November. He said the commission maintained that the transportation of marijuana between the Islands and the mainland is banned. 

The commission said in a statement to The Times that it would not comment on pending litigation. 

“In general, the agency is aware of the unique operational difficulties faced by licensees operating on the island counties while marijuana remains a Schedule I substance, and has promulgated regulations to allow for special accommodations as required by state law,” the statement said.

“At this time, transportation of marijuana from the commonwealth mainland to the island counties is not one of those accommodations. To the extent permitted by law, the commission has been discussing what may be possible in terms of extending additional accommodations to these licensees, and will be scheduling a public meeting on Martha’s Vineyard within the next month to continue the conversation.”

Swain said the lawsuit aims to get state permission for Rose to use a private boat to transport marijuana through state waters, which it classifies as seas within three miles of land. 

Island Time briefly closed in March, citing dwindling marijuana supplies, although it temporarily reopened in April. It shuttered again on May 14. 

Rose said he obtained marijuana from the mainland that allowed him to stay open for another month. He declined to say how he got the supplies to the Vineyard. 

The U.S. Coast Guard enforces federal maritime transportation laws. Diolanda Caballero, a Coast Guard spokesperson, told the Times that marijuana remains illegal under federal law, so even if someone possesses the drug in amounts allowed by the state they are in, “the contraband will be seized,” and the possessor, or vessel operator, could be prosecuted. 

Updated with a statement from the Cannabis Control Commission.


  1. Possibly the editors are partaking of this product. If you think that by using Hype to solve the sign in proble, you have not. You now have two systems. Neither of them of them work

  2. I wish Geoff every success. He’s got a case. We’ve got medical patients here that need medication and we’ve also got recreational customers who don’t have to go off island for other consumables. In 2024 with weed basically legal in half the country and an even higher percentage based on population the Commonwealth must provide a remedy for Geoff. WA has islands. Maine has islands. California has islands. Do a transfer on Cuttyhunk. Isn’t that 3 miles from both shores? It’s not even Schedule 1 anymore.

  3. I will transport stock for Mr. Rose via private boat or private airplane free of charge. This man has been jumping through your nonsensical HOOPS for years, he has paid his dues. Let it be.

  4. I am curious why Jeff filed in State Court….isn’t this a federal matter? The State is not objecting?

  5. “What You Aren’t Hearing About Marijuana’s Health Effects –
    Bertha Madras, a leading expert on weed, outlines the science linking it to psychiatric disorders, permanent brain damage, and other serious harms.”
    Wall Street Journal – May 10

    Put the pipe down for a few weeks. Let the fog clear and look in the mirror. How are you doing?

  6. Are indigenous people’s subject to all Federal laws? Fly the products by helicopter between tribal lands on the mainland and here.
    There I fixed it.

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