By Beth Waterfall

Cannabis is growing and available for sale on Nantucket at The Green Lady Dispensary. But the journey this family-run, women- and minority-owned business took to get to its July 2019 opening day is as unique as the island itself.

Owner and chief operating officer Nicole Campbell and her husband Rupert initially pursued opening a vertically integrated medical marijuana dispensary. But as the CCC went through its own growing pains integrating the medical cannabis program previously overseen by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), the Green Lady team pivoted.

“We are different in part because we opened first as an adult-use retailer, which is the opposite of most of the dispensaries operating in Massachusetts,” said Campbell. “We’re excited to add medical sales this fall.”

Until then, The Green Lady Dispensary is open and operating at 11 Amelia Drive in the original Downyflake building. Campbell’s daughter Corbet serves as retail manager, Rupert oversees security, Mike Grasso lends his Colorado cultivation experience as operations manager, and chef Eric Anderson brings his experience from the galleys of some of the island’s best kitchens to create the Green Lady’s line of hand-made edibles, including a 1:1 ratio of CBD and THC “Nantucket Trail Bar” packed with pistachios and cherries.

“This is a family business,” said Campbell, who began coming to the island as a teenager more than 30 years ago. “We have about 30 employees and are looking to find and train employees from the island for year-round jobs, which the island needs.”

The island also needed access. Since Nantucket voted overwhelmingly in support of both medical marijuana in 2012 and adult-use marijuana in 2016, its residents were forced to travel off-island to obtain marijuana, whether for medical or other adult use. “Both year-round and summer residents are very supportive of having cannabis representation on the island.”

But after seeing abundant press coverage about the traffic jams and long lines with adult-use dispensaries that opened last fall, several residents expressed their concerns about what cannabis traffic would be like for Nantucket.

“We were appointment-only through Labor Day, as the town asked, and didn’t have traffic or parking issues,” Campbell said. “Selectman Jason Bridges was one of our first customers and the Nantucket Chamber came out for our ribbon cutting. The surprise is how smoothly it has gone!”

But it’s different on Nantucket

The Green Lady, unlike all other adult-use retailers, is vertically integrated, meaning all products must be grown and processed by the same company that sells them. This is because of the company’s Nantucket location, which would otherwise require transporting marijuana or marijuana products across federal waters to and from the mainland. With marijuana still classified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as a Schedule I drug (meaning no known medicinal value), the Green Lady team worked with leading cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg to navigate the regulatory waters.

“On the mainland a retail store could buy wholesale from another licensed cultivator or processor, but because of our Nantucket location we have to do our cultivation, product manufacturing and retail all under one roof,” Campbell explained. “We also had to develop a modified testing program where we send out soil from finished crops to be tested off-island for pesticides. We also do a lot of our own testing on-site, document it thoroughly, and supply it to the CCC for review.”

Campbell also reflected on how different public acceptance and support are on Nantucket compared to the rest of Cape Cod. “When I went off island in May for Cape and Plymouth Business Magazine’s Cananbiz event, I saw first-hand how generally inhospitable the Cape has been to marijuana businesses,” said Campbell. “It’s about education. A lot of these towns are simply afraid that cannabis will change the fabric of their society, but I hope that with what we’ve done with The Green Lady can be a positive example.”

To help set that positive example and ensure its longevity, The Green Lady has pledged $10,000 donations to Nantucket High School’s annual scholarship fund, and supports a myriad of island-based organizations including ASAP Nantucket, Fairwinds – Nantucket’s Counseling Center, and other nonprofits. It also offers “bud training” sessions to help their customers understand how to read cannabis product labels, understand dosage, and use the products responsibly.

“We’ve put huge focus on educating our customers, and we’re hearing about how the community is loving it,” said Campbell. “The sky has not fallen on Nantucket!”

To learn more about Nicole Campbell and The Green Lady Dispensary, visit https://www.thegreenladydispensary.com/