Martha's Vineyard is running low on weed. Residents say a rule change could help

The Steamship Authority ferry crosses the water to Martha's Vineyard. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
The Steamship Authority ferry crosses the water to Martha's Vineyard. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

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TGIF! It’s nice to have Kristaps Porzingis back, huh? The Celtics are now three wins away from banner No. 18. (Sorry Triston.)

Let’s get to the news:

Running low: Cannabis advocates are raising concerns about the supply of the drug on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. The islands have faced supply obstacles since their first dispensaries opened, because it’s illegal to transport pot across federal waters or via plane. But now, with Martha’s Vineyard’s sole grower planning to close this fall and the busy summer season approaching, the simmering issue has come to a boil. Two island pot shops — one of which is temporarily closed due to supply issues — are suing the state’s Cannabis Control Commission. And medical marijuana providers are calling for emergency action. “Living on the island presents problems, and we all accept that, but getting your medication shouldn’t be one of them,” local physician Terry Kriedman told CCC commissioners during a special meeting yesterday on Martha’s Vineyard.

  • What do they want? It’s possible to get to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket through only state waters, but the CCC never wrote regulations for transporting weed via boat. (That’s effectively kept island dispensaries from shipping weed from the mainland, as the Boston Globe recently reported.) During the meeting yesterday, advocates and businesses implored the CCC to pass an emergency rule allowing cannabis transportation across state waters.
  • It’s not just an inconvenience for vacationers: Advocates say there are 234 medical marijuana patients on Martha’s Vineyard. There are also concerns about the safety of the underground market. “The opioid epidemic is very strong on this island, and there have been samples of cannabis on this island that have had opiates in them,” Chloe Loftfield, the general manager of the Martha’s Vineyard dispensary Fine Fettle, said during the meeting.
  • Zoom out: Massachusetts isn’t in uncharted waters, so to speak. Commissioners have noted that a handful of other states — including Maine, New York and Hawaii — have laws allowing cannabis shipments across state waters. (Alaska even has rules allowing dispensaries to ship their product via plane.)
  • What’s next: Commissioners said that the topic will be on their agenda for their meeting next Thursday. “We want to see a solution to this issue,” said Commissioner Kimberly Roy.

A different kind of green: Three Massachusetts institutions that predominantly serve communities of color are getting grants to help the state build up its climate sector workforce, as part of Gov. Maura Healey’s recently launched Climate Careers Fund.

  • Zoom in: Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute and Roxbury Community College will each get $1.3 million, while Holyoke Community College will get $832,000. The money will help get 400 students training in green job fields, like offshore wind technology, heat pumps and power engineering.
  • Zoom out: State officials estimate that Massachusetts must grow its clean energy workforce by nearly 30,000 workers in order to meet its 50% emissions reduction target for 2030.

Heads up: The Orange Line is fully open again, but another partial closure begins in just about 12 hours. Shuttles will replace trains between Oak Grove and North Station starting tonight at 8:30 p.m. through the entire weekend. You’ll also be able to take the Haverhill commuter rail line for free between North Station and Oak Grove.

Newport? More like new bus: Want to take a car-free trip to Newport this summer? A new bus will take you back and forth from Boston to the seaside Rhode Island getaway for $30 each way. The new, nonstop route, launched by Newport’s tourism board, will begin twice-a-day trips from South Station today through Sept. 9.

School’s out: Swansea’s Joseph Case High School is closed today after a blaze broke out on the first floor yesterday around 3 p.m., causing fire and smoke damage. The Globe reports that no injuries were reported and no students were in the school at the time.

P.S.— What Massachusetts municipality was the first in the country to launch a utility-run geothermal heating and cooling system? Take our Boston News Quiz and see if you know the answer.


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Nik DeCosta-Klipa Newsletter Editor
Nik DeCosta-Klipa is the newsletter editor for WBUR.



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