Jun 24, 2024

Vicente LLP Secures Historic Legal Settlement Authorizing Transport of Marijuana Over State Territorial Waters

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) issued an administrative order allowing for the first-ever maritime transport of state-legal marijuana within the Commonwealth. This is part of the CCC's settlement of a lawsuit Vicente LLP filed on behalf of licensed marijuana dispensaries located on the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Since legalization, the CCC has maintained a policy against the transport of marijuana between mainland Massachusetts and its islands, forcing island-based dispensaries to produce their own inventory or buy it from an island cultivator.

Vicente LLP filed the lawsuit on behalf of Patient Centric of Martha's Vineyard Ltd. d/b/a Island Time and The Green Lady Dispensary, Inc. against the CCC on May 21 after wholesale marijuana shortages threatened Island Time's survival as well as Martha's Vineyard's legal cannabis market at large. Nine days after Vicente LLP filed suit, the CCC voted to enter settlement negotiations with Vicente's clients to allow shipment of marijuana over intrastate waterways—a historic win for state sovereignty and marijuana access.

"The first-of-its-kind decision will reinvigorate the marijuana industries on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, opening the door to more jobs and a wider tax base for the hospitality-driven islands," said Adam Fine, Managing Partner of Vicente LLP's Boston office and co-counsel for the plaintiffs. "Most importantly, our client Island Time will be able to reopen its doors with a consistent supply of cannabis products and provide its customers with access to safe and tested adult-use products as well as the medicines that patients rely upon. This settlement ensures that Martha's Vineyard's legal cannabis market will remain available to island residents and summer visitors alike."  

"The legal issue in this case highlights the longstanding conflict between state and federal regulations regarding cannabis transportation," explains Vicente LLP Partner and co-counsel for the plaintiffs, Tim Swain. "Cannabis companies operate in highly complex business environments and this case validates a critical right to receive wholesale supply sufficient to operate a legal business."

"The outcome of this lawsuit will set a new standard for how cannabis transportation rules are interpreted and enforced and provide precedent for other businesses in similar situations," said Swain, who directs Vicente LLP's Litigation Practice Group.

The case is Patient Centric of Martha's Vineyard Ltd. v. Cannabis Control Commission, case number 2484CV01337 in the Suffolk County Superior Court for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Vicente LLP Partner Meg Nash assisted with this case.

About Vicente LLP

Vicente LLP is the premier cannabis and psychedelics law firm. Since 2010, the firm has been helping clients navigate laws and regulations, build and grow businesses, and shape public policy to advance the legal marijuana, hemp, and psychedelics fields across the globe. See VicenteLLP.com.