Five members of the Cannabis Control Commission responsible for regulating the recreational use marijuana in Massachusetts were recently announced. But there are some legitimate concerns about some of these new members.
Britte McBride, Kay Doyle and Shaleen Title were named on September 1st, 2017 to the CCC, joining the two previously named members, retired-Bain Executive Steven Hoffman, and former state senator Jennifer Flanagan.
The board will oversee both recreational and medical marijuana. This includes the licensing of retail dispensaries, cultivators, manufacturers and co-ops.
The CCC was assembled collectively by Governor Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey and Treasurer Deb Goldberg.
Hoffman was named to chair the board Thursday by Goldberg. Flanagan was appointed by Baker a week ago. McBride, who has served as assistant state attorney general and legal counsel to the Department of Public Safety, was appointed by Healey.
Title and Doyle, who served as legal counsel to the medical marijuana program here in Massachusetts, were included to the board by mutual agreement of the three elected officials.
“I’m especially eager to help Massachusetts set a good example for other states in creating a newly legal market that champions equity, including for communities that have been targeted by past criminalization policies,” Title said in a statement.
Title is a founding member of the Minority Cannabis Business Association, a national trade organization that pushs states and local communities to adopt policies that promote diversity and inclusion in the cannabis industry. She is a close colleague of mine and advisor of Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council (MRCC), where I am president and a registered lobbyist, so I am extremely delighted. (The MRCC is coalition of communities, researchers, scientists, professionals, students and community leaders who worked together to pass Ballot Question 4, The Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Initiative, in 2016).
The other four picks however did vote against legalization in November – so there is some concern.
Hoffman has no experience with the cannabis industry, especially the emerging one in Massachusetts. Both Goldberg and Jim Borghesani, who handled communications for the pro-Question 4 campaign, explained that finding a qualified candidate in the allotted timeline was a difficult task.
In a statement, Doyle said she is excited “to implement safe and sensible regulations that protect the health and wellness of Massachusetts residents.” “It is important that we do this right,” McBride said in a statement. “We have a lot of work ahead of us, and I am excited to get started.
The MRCC will continue to advocate for public health and safety in the new legalized industry. We are more focused than ever as the process continues. We believe informed and engaged consumers of the state are the only way for favorable outcomes moving forward.