Second Nantucket medical pot dispensary approved

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The island’s second proposed medical marijuana dispensary has a green light from the Nantucket Board of Selectmen, but The Green Lady must still clear several additional state and local regulatory hurdles before setting up shop.

Summer residents Nicole and Rupert Campbell, of Katonah, New York, hope to open the dispensary at 11 Amelia Drive, with sales planned for a former dentist’s office at the rear of the .30-acre property and cultivation, storage and processing operations in a two-story building fronting on the street.

Selectmen voted unanimously Nov. 8 to issue a letter of support to The Green Lady, which allows the dispensary to seek further approvals from the state Department of Public Health and a special permit from the town Planning Board.

The Green Lady’s extensive presentation to the selectmen included 36 letters of support from immediate and surrounding neighbors.

“What we’ve heard is that patients really want access to marijuana here on the island. There’s a desire to see not only medical, but recreational sales implemented here. You don’t see that everywhere,” attorney Adam Fine, representing The Green Lady, said at the meeting.

“Based on the conversations and discussions that have come up in the last few weeks in regard to (support for) recreational marijuana, I feel comfortable issuing a letter of support,” board member Rita Higgins said.

The state’s medical marijuana law was passed in 2012, with Nantucket voting more than 75 percent in favor. Town zoning allows for dispensaries – and eventually recreational operations – by special permit of the Planning Board in the Commercial Neighborhood and Commercial Industrial districts, primarily along Old South Road and Amelia Drive in the mid-island area. Proposed dispensaries are limited to stand-alone facilities,and not allowed within a building or structure containing other retail, commercial, residential, industrial or other uses, except for a licensed medical marijuana treatment center.

Selectmen three years ago issued a letter of “non-opposition” to another proposed dispensary, the Norwell-based Mass Medi-Spa, operated by Jeffrey Roos, but the operation is currently without an approved island location.

Under The Green Lady’s current plan, the dispensary facility at the rear of the property will have a bank teller-style window where patients will have to present identification proving they are older than 21 and a medical marijuana card provided by a physician before being granted entrance to the building, Nicole Campbell told the Selectmen.

Immediately inside the door is a waiting room, where the patient will be checked in through a computer system to verify their age and marijuana card before being escorted one at a time through another locked door to the dispensary area, where a consultant will help them make the appropriate selections, Campbell said.

Security is an extremely high priority, she said. The exterior of the building fronting 11 Amelia Drive will remain unchanged, and neither employees nor patients will use the front door except as an emergency exit. All doorways in both buildings can only be accessed by keycards, and there will be very limited access, even for employees, into the cultivation and processing building, she said.

“There’s no way a patient could help themselves and wander around in the back. Also, you’re only allowed to have as much supply in the dispensary as you believe you’ll use in one day. There is no extra stock,” she said.

The facility’s security system includes duress, panic and hold-up alarms connected to the Nantucket Police Department and both interior and exterior high-definition video-surveillance of all areas that contain marijuana, entrances, exits and parking lots. A security guard will be posted on-site during business hours, and on-site consumption of marijuana by employees, patients and caregivers is prohibited.

Cash will be frequently collected from point-of-sale stations and secured in an on-site vault, with regular cash deposits by secure transport, Fine said.

“There are no residential homes on that side of the road in that area, there is no direct line of sight to the dispensary building in the back, and the Nantucket Police Department and future Nantucket Fire Department are right behind the property. It couldn’t be more secure,” Campbell said.

The cultivation and processing building would contain a commercial kitchen and drying and trimming area on the first floor, with the downstairs area dedicated to cultivation, Campbell said. There would also be cultivation, storage and office areas on the second floor. In total, cultivation would take up about 3,000 square feet of space. The majority of processed marijuana would be kept in secure storage areas called “vaults,” Campbell said.

Rebecca Rutenberg