Martha's Vineyard Is Running Out of Pot and I Can't Stop Laughing (and I'm Not Even High)

RedState/Bob Hoge

"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert," liberty-loving economist Milton Friedman liked to say, "in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand."


On Martha's Vineyard, they're running out of government-regulated marijuana, and that has some of the locals up in virtual arms. Slowly, one imagines. 

The Associated Press told the story on Tuesday of an unnamed 81-year-old Vineyard resident who drove to the Island Time pot shop to pick up her usual dose but "owner Geoff Rose had to tell her the cupboard was bare." He'd had to close up shop three weeks earlier after selling out the last of his inventory of weed and edibles. 

Barack Obama could not be reached for comment before publication but my sources say he was last seen on the sofa with a Family Size bag of Cheetohs. It's good to be the (former) king.

(I made up the part about Obama. All the other absurdities in this column are 100% true.)

The culprit behind the shortage is the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, which ruled that "transporting pot across the ocean — whether by boat or plane — risks running afoul of federal laws," according to the AP. You can grow weed on the Vineyard but you can't transport it there. Never mind the part where people do transport it to the island every time they buy it on the mainland. They just can't transport it to a store for purchase by somebody else.


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Meanwhile, it's been perfectly clear for a decade that Washington — no matter which party is in charge — doesn't much care what the states do about weed. Last month, the FDA moved to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III drug on legal par "with testosterone and Tylenol."

Nevertheless, here's what Vineyard residents must endure to get their fix:

For people living on the island, taking the ferry to buy pot can be expensive and time-consuming. There's no dispensary in Woods Hole, where the ferry lands, so they either need to take an Uber from there or bring over a car, and space for vehicles is in hot demand over summer. That leaves medical users such as Sally Rizzo wondering how they will access marijuana. She finds the drug helps relieve her back problems and insomnia.

The story didn't indicate whether users were also forced to walk uphill in the snow in both directions, but Rose is suing the Commission to authorize moving marijuana across state waters so he can re-open his dispensary. “I'm on the verge of going out of business,” he told AP.


The illegal drug that is legal in Massachusetts that anyone could purchase when it was still illegal can't be reliably found on Martha's Vineyard because of a state regulation respecting a federal law that probably doesn't apply, and the one local grower who figured he had a "captured" market couldn't make enough money selling something people were previously happy to pay top dollar for.

I'm here to tell you that Milton Friedman — in all his well-studied cynicism about any government's ability to screw things up in the most absurd manner possible — would practically be an optimist in 2024. However absurd Friedman knew government to be, the Nobel prize winner didn't live long enough to see how the states would handle marijuana legalization.


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