State greenlights overwater cannabis transportation

The decision means Island Time will be able to reopen. 

Marijuana will be allowed to be transported to Martha's Vineyard over state waters. —MV Times

Off-Island marijuana will be sailing to the Vineyard in the near future. 

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission unanimously approved an administrative order allowing the transportation of marijuana products over state waters between licensed cannabis establishments and treatment centers on Thursday, June 13. 

The order was to go into effect on Friday at midnight, Kristina Gasson, general counsel for the commission, said during a Thursday meeting.

“While this is happening very quickly, it’s also going to be contingent upon the cooperation of our licensees with the commission staff to make sure this is done in a way that is safe and equitable for all,” Gasson said. 

Gasson also said marijuana establishments on the islands that do not transport cannabis products to and from the mainland can continue testing their products where they are, rather than sending them to an independent testing laboratory. 

The order will be added to the regulations, with more specific language, at a later date.

Although a review still needs to occur on how the cannabis businesses plan to transport their products to the Islands and on the vessels to be used, it removes a burden on local cannabis businesses. 

“At the end of the day, this was about public health and public safety, and patients and consumers alike having access to safely regulated products,” Kimberly Roy, cannabis commissioner, said.

The commission had been considering allowing the transportation of cannabis products over state waters, an illegal activity under federal laws, for marijuana establishments on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Fine Fettle in West Tisbury, the only legal marijuana cultivator on the Vineyard, had halted its growing operation in April with expectations to close by September, due to costs. 

This also led to Island Time in Vineyard Haven closing its doors in April. While it briefly reopened, it has been closed since May 14. 

In an attempt to expedite the process, Geoff Rose, who owns Island Time, jointly filed a lawsuit with the Nantucket-based Green Lady Dispensary in Suffolk County Superior Court. 

Adam Dimitri Fine, one of Rose’s attorneys, told The Times on Friday that they will move to have the case dismissed once the inspection for the boat to be used to transport cannabis products is completed. 

Gasson said the order was in response to the “growing risk” of access to legal marijuana being cut off for patients and recreational users in Dukes and Nantucket counties. 

In Dukes County, which includes Martha’s Vineyard, there are 234 medical marijuana patients.

The commissioners heard from some of these patients, and other cannabis proponents, during a meeting held at Oak Bluffs library on June 6. Commissioners heard about the difficulties associated with running a cannabis business on the Island, such as operational costs and product transportation restrictions, and fears of people turning to an illicit cannabis market if legal marijuana businesses on the Vineyard end up closing. 

Bruce Stebbins, cannabis commissioner, said the transportation of cannabis products over state waters should continue to be monitored. He also said the commission should continue to “prioritize and expedite” people who pursue licenses to establish cannabis businesses in Dukes and Nantucket counties. 

“There’s a little bit of an unknown out there that I think we all need to understand,” Stebbins said. 

Rose was pleased with the commission’s decision, and was glad he would be able to retain his business. 

“We’re finally providing equity for operations on the Islands,” Rose told the Times on Friday.

Rose said he looks forward to serving Vineyard patients and consumers again. He said Island Time will reopen “very soon” after undergoing the commission’s review, although when that will be remains uncertain. 

Fine Fettle remains less certain, as it is required to cultivate its own marijuana because it is licensed as a medical marijuana dispensary. While the West Tisbury location was still selling products to customers, Benjamin Zachs, chief operating officer of Fine Fettle, told The Times on June 7 that the business was being prepared for a potential buyer. At the time, Zachs said there were three groups with “deep interest” in taking over the operation, although he did not disclose who they were. 

Zachs was not immediately available for comment on Friday. 


  1. Another example of overkill by governments. How are they going to transport marijuana on the boats the same way we have been doing it for 50 years. Why do governments need to get so intrusive into everything we do?

    • I’m pretty sure that legalization had absolutely zero effect on the amount of weed that rides back and forth on those boats.

      • Legalization cut down on the export of weed from the Island.
        60 miles of mostly deserted coastline

    • Bob, I sort of like how intrusive our government is: they monitor pharmaceuticals to ensure they are safe. The government inspects bridges to make sure they don’t buckle. They build and maintain highways. They establish and maintain no-cost libraries. The government levies and collects taxes so we can live in a civilized world.
      With endless beautiful views.

      • Sorry, Mary . . . I’m with Bob on this one.

        The federal government habitually imposes “requirements” that simply go beyond reason, making it impossible to implement smart solutions at the local level if federal funds are utilized. We would all be better off if the feds (and the state) would allow local decision-makers greater discretion to make choices for what works best in their community. This is the case for housing, bike paths, setting the speed limit on our roads, mopeds, and just about everything else.

        Meanwhile, bridges are still buckling . . . drinking water is still not safe . . . rampant bird flu in cows should be a red flag and airports are expanded with federal funds to serve the wealthy so that climate change can continue to light our beautiful views on fire every summer.

        • Juleann, we are both welcome to our opinions and I’m happy for a civilized world rather than anarchy.

          • Understood. As long as you understand that federal and state legislators keep our “civilized world” from being as “civilized” as we might like. I don’t consider rental mopeds to be an acceptable form of transportation on our island roads in the summer. I believe the island would feel safer and more civilized without them. However, The State continues to impose their presence on us whether we want them or not.

  2. “Bertha Madras, a leading expert on weed, outlines the science linking it to psychiatric disorders, permanent brain damage, and other serious harms.”
    WSJ – May 10, 2024

    Freuent smokers should read the article. Then put the pipe down for awhile and take a hard look in the mirror. Ask yourself if the damage is worth it.

    • Jay– we can certainly find studies about the bad effects
      of everything from tobacco to salt. Anyone who drinks milk
      should read “The China study”. I was a heavy marijuana user
      from the late 60’s until the early 80’s (when my daughter was born)
      Sorry, I look in the mirror, and think it was a positive experience.
      I’m 72 now. No damage that I can tell.

        • We both strongly disagree with statements that are untrue, Jerome. I guarantee there are a lot of us who recognize the damages done to admitted “heavy” substance abusers over so many years.

        • Jerome– I expected that kind of comment.
          We may have some different opinions about some
          things, but you can’t accuse me of being
          uninformed and not having facts to back up my
          opinions. Real facts– not ignorant platitudes and
          alternative facts that many people seem to pull
          out of their anal orifice’s.
          And just so I know what to look for the next time
          I take a hard look in the mirror, what are the symptoms
          of the “damage” that you think I inflicted on myself
          all those years ago ?

  3. Long term substance abusers are in no position to judge the effects their abuse has had on themselves or on the people around them. Denying that reality is like an active alcoholic pretending that his decades of drinking had no ill effects on anyone. Heavy marijuana use has a proven negative impact on memory, to name one of the dangers. That’s been obvious in these pages. It’s not that potheads are liars. It’s that they don’t remember a stand they took on any topic the week before, so they contradict themselves constantly. Denial is a large part of substance abuse disorders. I imagine that the denial prevents one from stopping their addictions and seeing what a waste of life it is to be unsober.

    • Jackie– I agree– there is one guy here who made a bet
      about the number of Covid deaths that would occur in the United
      States and then completely forgot that he made that bet and
      that the person he made that bet to took him up on it.
      He has personally told me of some previous drug use, and he might
      drink a lot of milk and eat red meat– pretty dangerous stuff that has
      been shown to have adverse health effects, including
      clogged arteries which reduce the amount of blood
      getting to the brain, thereby reducing the brains ability
      to function at its peak potential.
      How would we know if some memory loss is due to
      consumption of red meat and milk, marijuana and alcohol use, or just part of
      the aging process ?

  4. Long term Pot users become mediocre tradesmen or often dont amount to much in life, failed marriages and wrong headed world views. People who lead clean lives usually are more successful economically and less prideful of their abilities to form good opinions. Yes generalizations but useful markers for life. Denial pushes people to the dark side.

    • andy– it’s nice to know that people who don’t
      smoke pot don’t get divorced, always have the “right” world
      opinion are better tradesmen and amount to more in life.
      And of course, they make sweeping generalizations about
      people who are not like them, they don’t know
      or don’t believe the same
      fairy tales they do.
      I bet you’re pretty proud of your ability to form generalized
      unprovable opinions about people, whether they be “pot heads”
      mediocre tradesmen or
      people who live in impoverished corrupt countries. Or even an entire
      population of 2 million people who are “guilty” of a horrible
      attack on innocent people and deserve to be pushed into the sea.

      I don’t know andy, I think I’ll stick on the dark side.
      It seems the dark side is the side that is
      compassionate enough and willing to welcome the destitute, feed the poor, house
      the homeless and not judge people’s shortcomings and failures.
      You know who told us to do that a few thousand years ago, right ?

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