The state Cannabis Control Commission has approved a final medical marijuana license for Patient Centric of Martha’s Vineyard, ending a years-long process and clearing the way for product cultivation at a site off the Dr. Fisher Road in West Tisbury.
The approval comes after a state investigation into Patient Centric’s financial backer Acreage Holdings held up permitting for months, leading to a $250,000 settlement with the state commission and a rewrite of its lending contract with Patient Centric and another state medical marijuana cultivator.
Both the settlement and the final medical licensing approval for Patient Centric occurred at a cannabis control commission meeting on Thursday, a spokesman for the CCC confirmed.
Geoff Rose, who owns Patient Centric, said he has been working for more than seven years to get final approval from the state. The company is vertically integrated, and will both cultivate and dispense marijuana on the Island. He said he plans to begin cultivation Monday, and hopes to have products available by November.
The final approval Thursday is the first for medical marijuana on the Island since it was legalized in 2012.
“I’m excited,” Mr. Rose said on the phone Friday. “I’m excited primarily for the patients who have been patient all these years. That’s really what this was all about.”
Mr. Rose has received all his requisite state and local permits for medical marijuana cultivation, and plans to use a building located at 510 State Road in the North Tisbury business district for the dispensary.
According to the final license recommendation before the CCC, the 5,000-square-foot cultivation facility at 90 Dr. Fisher Road in West Tisbury was inspected on June 2 and found to be compliant. The license allows Mr. Rose to cultivate and produce marijuana, but does not allow him to sell to other marijuana treatment centers.
The opening of the dispensary on State Road is conditional on further inspections by the CCC. A proposal to expand the retail facility off State Road for the sale of recreational marijuana is currently before the Martha’s Vineyard Commission. Mr. Rose is also waiting on adult-use permits for recreational marijuana from the state.
While the recreational facility remains on hold, Mr. Rose said Thursday that he hopes to offer a wide variety of products for patients at the medicinal facility.
“We have a preliminary menu that will consist of various chocolates, fruit chews, lozenges, and a variety of flower strains,” he said.
The long road to cultivate was not without bumps. In January, the CCC opened an investigation into Acreage Holdings, a financial backer for Mr. Rose that had loaned Patient Centric $4 million in revolving credit, as well as other loans.
According to documents provided by the CCC, the investigation centered around whether Acreage controlled more marijuana entities than are allowable by law. Although the company’s contract with Patient Centric stated that it would provide “consulting services and capital funds,” the investigation found provisions in the contract with Patient Centric that gave them substantial leverage over the company, including provisions that required Acreage to approve personnel and budgetary decisions at Patient Centric.
Because Acreage was also pursuing other recreational licenses in the state, the commission’s determination that they had a controlling stake in Patient Centric put them over the legal limit when regulations changed in late 2019.
On Thursday, the CCC issued a stipulation requiring Acreage to pay $250,000 to the state’s marijuana regulation fund as a remedy for its conduct.
Mr. Rose said Thursday that Acreage had rewritten its contract with Patient Centric in the spring to bring it into compliance with state regulations. He said Acreage remains the company’s lender but has no a broader role in controlling Patient Centric’s business activities.
“They’re my lender. That’s our relationship,” Mr. Rose said. “The simple sense is that there were some questions raised by the commission. Acreage addressed them. We revised the loan agreement. Now it’s compliant, and they’ve issued licenses to me.”
With the fine settled, Mr. Rose said he looked forward to becoming the first supplier to cultivate and dispense medicinal marijuana on the Island.
“It’s been a long road,” the businessman said. “Sometimes I feel like Rocky . . . I’ve taken the hits. But I’ve worked to be a good neighbor. I’ve been a good advocate for safe and responsible use for cannabis. And that’s what Patient Centric is about.”