Massachusetts Lifts Islands Shipping Ban for Cannabis

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Islands Shipping Ban Lift

Massachusetts cannabis regulators on Thursday approved an administrative order allowing retailers on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket to source their pot from mainland suppliers.

Legal Battle and Commission Decision

The Cannabis Control Commission’s move follows a lawsuit filed in May by the owners of two retailers, Patient Centric (doing business as Island Times) and The Green Lady. They sought an injunction to permit such imports, arguing it was essential for their businesses’ survival.

However, the commission’s decision includes a significant caveat: the order does not grant immunity under federal law. Business owners “assume any and all risks associated with the transportation of marijuana and medical marijuana over state territorial waters,” as cannabis remains illegal under federal law. This legality issue was the primary reason for the state ban on transporting cannabis across the water.

Islands Shipping Ban Lift : Public Hearing and Health Concerns

During a public hearing on Martha’s Vineyard earlier this month, the retailers expressed their willingness to take on this risk. Regulators noted that the decision was influenced by health and safety concerns for medical marijuana patients and retail customers. Many testified about the dangers of “street” cannabis tainted with opioids.