How pot restrictions impacted one Martha’s Vineyard dispensary – Marketplace

Cannabis is now legal, for medical or adult recreational use, in 38 states and the District of Columbia. It’s grown into a $30 billion industry. 

But although the Drug Enforcement Administration is reclassifying the drug as less dangerous, it remains illegal at the federal level. That means stringent rules govern the transportation of cannabis, which can leave some parts of the industry stranded on islands — sometimes literally. 

For business owners on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, June usually marks the start of tourism season. In other words: moneymaking season. But that hasn’t panned out this year for Geoff Rose, owner of Island Time Cannabis Dispensary.

Rose’s shelves have been bare. He ran out of cannabis in May, after the island’s only licensed grower shut down. Massachusetts regulators forbade transport by boat, worried that it might run afoul of the feds. That means growers on the mainland couldn’t ship new inventory to the Vineyard. 

“We sold down to the last 14 chocolate bars and closed the doors,” Rose said. “We were really in a crisis situation. I was gonna go out of business.”

Closing the dispensary would impact more than tourists hoping to kick back with a joint on the beach, said

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