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    Massachusetts allows transport of marijuana to Martha’s Vineyard in a first

    By Guardian staff and agency,

    29 days ago
    A sign for Fine Fettle cannabis dispensary. Martha's Vineyard is about to run out of pot, affecting medical users and recreational users. Photograph: Nick Perry/AP

    Cannabis regulators in Massachusetts have issued an administrative order that will allow marijuana to be transported to the state’s famous islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket for the first time.

    The order came amid reports Martha’s Vineyard was about to run out of pot, with one dispensary temporarily closing in May and the other saying it would close by September without further supplies.

    Regulations had barred the transportation of cannabis over state waters from the Massachusetts mainland to the islands that have a rich history and are best known in modern times as summer playgrounds of the liberal elite .

    One of the dispensaries, Island Time, had filed a lawsuit against the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, the state regulator.

    “We need a solution, we need it for patients, we need it for those who utilize cannabis, and we need it now,” said Geoff Rose, owner of Island Time dispensary, NBC reported , adding: “I’m in a critical situation. I mean, I’m literally within a week or so I’m having to shut down permanently.”

    Related: Massachusetts to pardon ‘hundreds of thousands’ with marijuana charges

    The other dispensary, Fine Fettle, was the sole grower of pot on the island and had provided all the pot for sale. But Fine Fettle said the small grow operation was no longer economically feasible and was closing it down.

    Although Massachusetts voters opted to legalize marijuana more than seven years ago, the state commission had previously not allowed transportation of pot to the islands. It had taken the position that transporting pot across the ocean – whether by boat or plane – risked running afoul of federal laws.

    Federal government attitudes show signs of softening , but cannabis is still not legal under federal law. The US Department of Justice last month moved to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug, though still not a legal one for recreational use.

    There are more than 230 registered medical users and thousands more recreational ones residing on Martha’s Vineyard.

    The tension between conflicting state and federal regulations has played out across the country as states have legalized pot. California law, for example, expressly allows cannabis to be transported to stores on Catalina Island, while Hawaii last year dealt with its own difficulties transporting medical marijuana between islands by amending a law to allow it.

    The Associated Press contributed reporting

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