VINEYARD HAVEN, Mass. (NEWSnet/AP) — An 81-year-old woman on Martha’s Vineyard drove to Island Time dispensary, seeking her usual order of cannabis. Owner Geoff Rose had to tell her the cupboard was bare.

Three weeks earlier, had been forced to close temporarily, after selling every bud and gummy.

Unless something changes, the island’s only other cannabis dispensary will sell its remaining supply by September, and Martha’s Vineyard will be devoid of marijuana. That affects more than 230 registered medical users and thousands more recreational customers.

The problem is location. Although Massachusetts voters opted to legalize marijuana seven years ago, the state’s Cannabis Control Commission said transporting pot across the ocean risks running afoul of federal law. That’s despite a counterargument that there are routes that remain within state territorial waters.

The conundrum led Rose to file a lawsuit in May against the commission. Three of the five commissioners visited Martha’s Vineyard on June 6 to hear from affected residents.

For several years, sellers on Martha’s Vineyard and the nearby island of Nantucket thought they had a solution. They grew and tested cannabis, eliminating the need to import. But Fine Fettle, a Connecticut-based company that had been the sole commercial grower on Martha’s Vineyard, told Rose it planned to stop growing it.

Benjamin Zachs, who runs Fine Fettle’s Massachusetts operations, said that, when the company opened in Martha’s Vineyard, it knew it was illegal to transport marijuana across a federal waterway.

But over time, pot became cheaper with more varied options on the mainland, while the cost of employing testers increased, Zachs said.

Rose's lawsuit describes how he told the commission his business faced an existential crisis, because Fine Fettle no longer could grow marijuana. In March, he purchased marijuana on the mainland and had it delivered by ferry. The commission ordered Rose to stop selling the product he had shipped, putting it into an administrative hold. The commission  released the marijuana, but told Rose he no longer could ship.

Rose is joined in the suit by Green Lady on Nantucket, which for now has a homegrown supply. Island Time is represented by Vicente, a firm that specializes in cannabis cases. It agreed to delay an emergency injunction against the commission until June 12, after the commission said it will enter into settlement discussions.

When commissioners traveled to Martha’s Vineyard, they assured residents they are on the same page.

“This is a super priority for us, because we don’t want to see the collapse of an industry on the islands,” said commissioner Kimberly Roy.

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