Just weeks after the Vineyard’s only commercial marijuana growing facility announced it would close, the Island’s second dispensary has temporarily shut down because of trouble sourcing marijuana. 

Island Time, the Vineyard Haven dispensary owned by Geoff Rose, shut its doors recently, telling customers that it is hopeful to get more products soon. 

“We will reopen when we are able to source products from the mainland,” Mr. Rose wrote in the notice. “I am hopeful for a resolution soon that will result in more products, choices and value for you.” 

A note on Island Time's door announces temporary closure. — Ethan Genter

The issue for the Vineyard is that getting marijuana here from the mainland is currently illegal under federal law. All marijuana that is sold in Vineyard stores is supposed to be grown on the Island.

Mr. Rose this week declined to talk about the business.

Earlier this month, Fine Fettle, which has the only other dispensary on the Island and the Vineyard’s lone grow facility, said it planned to close due to a combination of regulatory and financial issues. At the time, company president Benjamin Zachs said Fine Fettle had “quite a bit of inventory.”

But state regulators are concerned about when the supply runs out. 

Last week, the Cannabis Control Commission convened to consider ways to preserve access to cannabis on the Vineyard in light of Fine Fettle’s closing. The Cannabis Control Commission plans to hold a meeting on the Vineyard sometime next month to talk about transportation issues and regulations that make it difficult to get medical and recreational marijuana to Islanders. 

Fine Fettle’s closure leaves about 230 medical marijuana patients on the Vineyard with few options due to overlapping jurisdictions with the federal government, prompting concerns about the growth of a black market.  

“If we do nothing, you are going to have 234 patients with no medical access on the Island,” said commissioner Kimberly Roy at a commission meeting May 9. “That’s the reality of it.” 

Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level and the federal government oversees the waters around the Island, as well as the air space, making transportation of mainland marijuana aboard the Steamship Authority or plane illegal.

The commission planned to reach out to Island officials about the current supply chain issues as well as investigate how other states that legalized marijuana have navigated transportation. 

New York allows marijuana to be transported on ferries and California has special carve outs for Catalina Island. Maine, which has several coastal islands, is also grappling with the issue. 

After medical marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts in  2012, the state did consider the obstacles facing Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. In response, the state eased testing requirements. 

But much of the state’s regulations around transporting marijuana is geared towards motor vehicles. People transporting marijuana are supposed to use vehicles compliant with the state Registry of Motor Vehicle requirements, need to take randomized routes and have contingency plans with GPS monitors checking in every 30 minutes. 

Commission staff said all of these requirements could run into issues if marijuana was transported on a ferry, which isn’t licensed by the RMV and runs on a set schedule and route. The commission has looked into ways to make it easier on the Vineyard in the wake of Fine Fettle’s planned closure, including setting up waivers, emergency regulations and fast-tracking Vineyard applications.

“I think we can take steps to prioritize review of new applications from Dukes County, we could also prioritize any change of ownership,” said commissioner Bruce Stebbins. 

But the commission hasn’t come up with a plan on what to do, and an exact meeting date on the Vineyard has not yet been set. 

Commissioner Roy noted that there is an irony to the Vineyard’s plight and concern about breaking some laws given that the state’s entire cannabis industry is illegal under federal statute. But she and the other commissioners vowed to deal with the matter fast, as the busy season approaches and supply dries up. 

“I think we need to engage the county,” Ms. Roy said. “They need to be aware that there’s a supply chain issue.” 

 This story was updated with information about the temporary closure of Island Time.