Theresa Manning, who heads the Martha’s Vineyard Youth Task Force, a group that among other things works to curb teen substance use, acknowledged that many Island teenagers are already using marijuana. But she said task force data shows that the majority of kids choose not to.
“Our hope would be that as recreational [marijuana] rolls out in our community, we start from a stronger place in terms of having stronger guidelines around youth access,” she said.
Adults over 21 can legally possess and grow marijuana (six plants are allowed and cannot be visible from a public way). And while there are broadly-drawn state regulations that remain a work in progress under the state Cannabis Control Commission, zoning and other local rules are largely left up to individual towns.
Every Island town has taken its own approach.
Edgartown has a temporary moratorium on the sale of adult-use cannabis in effect until December. (It does not apply to medical cannabis.)
West Tisbury, Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs all have adopted zoning regulations that restrict marijuana sales and cultivation to certain areas, for the most part away from town centers.
Chilmark and Aquinnah have enacted no zoning or other town rules for marijuana use.
Marijuana is prohibited on the water, which is governed by federal law, and the U.S. Coast Guard has said that enforcement will be strict.
“As long as marijuana is still illegal under federal law, we will still enforce federal law,” petty officer Nicole Groll told the Gazette by phone. She said there have been no cases this summer involving confiscation of marijuana on the water between the mainland and the Island.