Tag: Massachusetts

Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Advocates Urge Towns to Allow Regulated Businesses, Follow Marshfield Example

A supporter holds up a “Yes on 4” sign at the 2016 Boston Freedom Rally (Scott Gacek/The Daily Chronic)

BOSTON, MA — Towns passing legal cannabis bans and moratoriums are guaranteeing continued market control by criminals and street dealers, the group behind the legalization measure passed by voters last November said today.

The group praised Marshfield voters for rejecting a measure at a town meeting yesterday that would have banned marijuana retail facilities in the town.

“Very simply, if cannabis isn’t sold by regulated and taxed retailers, it will continue to be sold by criminals who don’t check IDs and don’t care about the safety of their product,” said Jim Borghesani, Massachusetts spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project and former communications director for the Yes on 4 campaign. “Marshfield voters made a responsible decision yesterday to make sure their town takes commerce away from street dealers and puts significant new tax dollars in the town coffers.”

Borghesani added that the legislature’s decision to change the law passed by voters made it easier to ban marijuana businesses without a clear mandate from local residents.

“While we accepted the overall legislative compromise this past summer, we believe it was a mistake to create two classes of municipalities in the state when it comes to local bans,” Borghesani said. “The legislative changes to the law passed last year have allowed local officials to ban businesses without a convincing mandate from local voters.”

One “no” town, Mashpee, passed a moratorium this week at a town meeting attended by only 320 voters. There are 10,848 registered voters in Mashpee.

“Unfortunately, these decisions are being made by a very small percentage of voters in some towns. We’re hopeful that more towns will follow Marshfield’s example, and we will be working to inform local voters about upcoming ban proposals,” Borghesani said.

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Field Sobriety Tests Can’t Determine Marijuana Impairment, Mass. High Court Rules

Standard roadside field sobriety tests (FST) are not reliable indicators of marijuana-induced impairment, according to a ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Court.

Justices determined that there is a lack of scientific consensus as to the validity of FSTs for determining whether a subject is under the influence of cannabis.

They opined: “There is ongoing disagreement among scientists, however, as to whether the FSTs are indicative of marijuana impairment. In recent years, numerous studies have been conducted in an effort to determine whether a person’s performance on the FST is a reliable indicator of impairment by marijuana. These studies have produced mixed results. … We are not persuaded … that the FSTs can be treated as scientific tests establishing impairment as a result of marijuana consumption.”

As a result, justices ruled that police may only provide limited testimony with regard to a defendant’s FST performance. An officer “may not suggest … on direct examination that an individual’s performance on an FST established that the individual was under the influence of marijuana,” the court determined. “Likewise, an officer may not testify that a defendant ‘passed’ or ‘failed’ any FST, as this language improperly implies that the FST is a definitive test of marijuana use or impairment.”

The court further ruled that a police officer may not testify “without being qualified as an expert [as] to the effects of marijuana consumption [or] offer an opinion that a defendant was intoxicated by marijuana [because] no such general knowledge exists as to the physical or mental effects of marijuana consumption, which vary greatly amongst individuals.”

Attorneys Steven Epstein and Marvin Cable filed an amicus curiae brief in the case on behalf of national NORML.

The case is Commonwealth v. Gerhardt.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Massachusetts Court: Roadside Drunk Driving Tests Not Valid for Cannabis

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts’ highest court ruled Tuesday that field sobriety tests typically used in drunken-driving cases cannot be treated as conclusive evidence that a motorist was operating under the influence of marijuana.

There currently is no reliable scientific test for marijuana impairment comparable to tests for blood alcohol content.

The Supreme Judicial Court said it was reasonable for police officers to testify — as non-expert witnesses — only to their observations about how individuals performed during sobriety tests. But officers are not allowed to tell juries if defendants passed or failed such tests, nor offer their own opinions on whether a driver was too high to be behind the wheel.

The ruling came in a case of a man who was charged with impaired driving in 2013.

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The justices noted there currently is no reliable scientific test for marijuana impairment comparable to tests for blood alcohol content, though several potential tools are under development. In drunken-driving cases, results of field sobriety tests can be correlated with blood alcohol readings as evidence of impairment.

The lack of such a test for marijuana has taken on greater significance in states such as Massachusetts that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults, but where driving under the influence of cannabis remains a serious crime.

“While not all researchers agree, a significant amount of research has shown that consumption of marijuana can impair the ability to drive,” the court said in a unanimous decision. “There is ongoing disagreement among scientists, however, as to whether (field sobriety tests) are indicative of marijuana impairment.”

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Thomas Gerhardt challenged the admissibility of tests that were conducted by a state trooper in Millbury after he was pulled over on suspicion of impaired driving. The trooper reported smoke in the car, the odor of marijuana and found two marijuana cigarette butts.

Two passengers said they had smoked the joints about 20 minutes earlier, while Gerhardt maintained it had been about three hours since he used marijuana.

During his field sobriety test, Gerhardt was able to recite a portion of the alphabet and count backward, but was unable to properly follow instructions for a so-called walk-and-turn test, leading the officer to conclude he was under the influence of marijuana.

The state Legislature recently ordered creation of a special commission to study issues around driving while impaired by marijuana.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Boston Freedom Rally Draws Thousands to Celebrate Legalization

For the thousands who flocked to Boston Common this weekend, the 28th annual Boston Freedom Rally was all about celebrating their historic November win, when the adult use of marijuana was legalized by voters in the Bay State.

The event, organized by MassCann/NORML, was layered with live music, public speeches, educational panels, glimmering sunshine and thick smoke-haze—along with a curious tourists wandering through, unaware they’d hit the communal joint jackpot.

Police presence through the day was minimal and largely respectful. A police spokesman told the Boston Herald there were zero arrests and citations as of Saturday.

Who showed up? Musicians, longtime cannabis advocates, veterans affairs activists, mayoral candidate and pro-legalization pol Tito Jackson, Potsquatch, and thousands of others.

I bobbed and weaved through the crowd talking to locals and attendees to get a sense of the day’s vibe, what people were celebrating, and what cannabis means to them.

Abby & Kathleen: ‘Good moods everywhere.’

Abby Laner, left, and Kathleen Stacy relax and enjoy the mellow mood at Saturday’s Freedom Rally.

Abby Laner

Age: 21

What she’s celebrating: “People coming together for a good way of life. I want to surround myself with people like that.”

What cannabis means to her: “It’s something I can share with friends and have a good feeling in my joints from being in a wheelchair. It’s also why my friends call me ‘hot wheels’.”

Kathleen Stacy

Age: 21

What she’s celebrating: “Everyone having a good time together. Nothing from the outside world is affecting it. Everyone is cool and mellow and enjoying life like we should be. Peaceful, happy. That’s what I want spread out into the world: good moods everywhere.”

What cannabis means to her: “Escape, have a good time, relaxation, and no stresses attacking me all at once.”

Cara: Creating jobs

Cara Crabb-Burnham: “Getting people back to work doing something they love.”

Cara Crabb-Burnham

Age: 31

What she’s celebrating: “This is the first time I’ve been to the rally as a guest since 2008, and it’s refreshing to enjoy it without having to actually work a booth. And it’s the first one after legalization for recreational use in the state, so it’s a big day. Everyone has been great. I saw cops only have to deal with one guy, but turned out he was drunk.”

What cannabis means to her: “Jobs, getting people off unemployment and assistance, and an industry getting people back to work doing something they love.”

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Lance: It lets me sleep

Lance Patterson: “It helps me sleep and be functional in the world.”

Lance Patterson

Age: 25

What he’s celebrating: “Cannabis legalization in the state. It’s helped so many with a lot of problems. I suffer from sleep paralysis and it’s the only natural medicine that makes it so that I don’t suffer.”

What cannabis means to him: “It means I get a nights’ sleep and don’t have to be stressed out all the time. It helps me actually be functional in the world.”

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DJ Slim Puff Pass: Working safely and pain-free

DJ Slim Puff Pass: “We’re still fighting for rights.”

DJ Slim Puff Pass

Age: 47

What he’s celebrating: “Today is my birthday and my Christmas all in one. Of course I’m celebrating the legalization of marijuana, but I’m here because we’re still fighting for rights. A lot of things aren’t the way they should have been by now with regards to availability and rollout in Mass. There’s a lot of greed and snakes in the grass here. What’s really bothering me is that patients don’t have a place to go to get the proper medicine they need at a reasonable price in a location that’s close and convenient to them.”

What cannabis means to him: “Livelihood. I got in a head-on collision where my vehicle flipped over, and my back is now shot. I have two kids, a wife, a house, and a car. I have to work. I have to maintain my life in a safe manner and in a manner that’s pain free. I don’t like pills, Advil, ibuprofen and so on, so I smoke weed. It takes away my pain, keeps me focused and happy, and it’s a better way to go through life without pharmaceuticals being shoved in my pocket.”

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Allie & Ralph: Healing injuries, getting to normal

Allie Greenberg (right) and her father Ralph Greenberg: “It’s a tool for change.”

Allie Greenberg

Age: 27

What she’s celebrating: “I was associated with NETA locally, and I’ve learned about the medical side and using it as a tool for change. I’m here to spread awareness for our organization and how medical cannabis patients can work with us to help stock local food pantries.”

What cannabis means to her: “The zen effect that helps me get back to normalcy when dealing with my anxiety. I appreciate I can smoke a bowl instead of popping a pill.”

Ralph Greenberg

Age: 54

What he’s celebrating: “The arrival of open cannabis, a lot of wonderful people, and enjoying life and people in this community.”

What cannabis means to him: “Helping me with my injuries and anxieties. I’ve been doing it for a long time. It’s really helped me, much more than taking prescribed pharmaceuticals and opioids. With my non-profit Key For Hope working with the cannabis community, we hope to stock local food pantries using old keys.”

And, yes, Potsquatch was there

The author with a rare sighting of the Boston Potsquatch.

It wouldn’t be a Freedom Rally without the Squatch.

(All photos by Dan McCarthy)

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Roger Stone Yanked as Cannabis Conference Keynoter

Roger Stone Yanked as Cannabis Conference Keynoter | Phillip Smith

Long-time Republican political trickster and Donald Trump advisor Roger Stone’s gig as the keynote speaker at Los Angeles and Boston marijuana expos has been canceled after news of his participation roiled the cannabis community. The Cannabis World Congress and Business Exposition (CWCBExpo) had selected the white-haired provocatuer to address the two pot business conferences after […]

Roger Stone Yanked as Cannabis Conference Keynoter | The Daily Chronic


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Massachusetts Cannabis Regulators Meet Publicly for 1st Time

BOSTON (AP) — With no staff or permanent office space and only a limited budget, the newly appointed board that will regulate marijuana in Massachusetts met publicly for the first time Tuesday, more than 10 months after voters voted to legalize recreational cannabis.

Among the first votes taken by the five-member Cannabis Control Commission was to allow its chairman, Steven Hoffman, to also serve as interim executive director of the agency until a permanent director is hired.

“We have a lot of work to do, and we need to get started right away,” said Hoffman, noting deadlines spelled out under the November ballot and later revised by the Legislature.

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The first meeting of the commission was largely procedural and lasted barely a half hour. The word “marijuana” was never spoken, but Hoffman and the other commissioners reiterated their commitment to carrying out the will of the electorate and doing so in an “open and transparent” manner.

Four of the five commissioners on the panel voted against Question 4 in November.

Future meetings would be held not only in Boston, but around the state, Hoffman said.

While it became legal in December for adults to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to a dozen cannabis plants in private homes, there remains no legal way to buy the drug for non-medical purposes in Massachusetts, and the first retail cannabis shops aren’t expected to open until next July at the earliest.

The Legislature voted to delay key regulatory deadlines for six months while drafting a set of revisions to the law that were signed early last month by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, allowing regulatory commission members finally to be appointed.

Sponsors of the ballot question complained that Massachusetts is the only one of the eight states that have legalized recreational marijuana to delay implementation. They also expressed alarm that four of the five commissioners on the panel had voted against Question 4 in November.

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Jim Borghesani, spokesman for Yes on 4, said while those concerns have not been eliminated, he was encouraged by the early tone struck by the board and the stated commitment by Hoffman, a retired business executive, to meet deadlines for licensing marijuana businesses.

“This is what 54 percent of Massachusetts voters said in November they wanted to see happen,” Borghesani said.

The commission’s first major act should be asking Baker and lawmakers for more funding, Borghesani added. The state so far has released $500,000 of a $2 million appropriation for the agency’s operations in the current fiscal year. Hoffman said after Tuesday’s meeting that “substantially more than $2 million” would likely be needed.

Commissioner Britte McBride, a former assistant attorney general, called for an executive director to be named as quickly as possible to avoid potential conflicts arising from Hoffman’s dual role. The chairman agreed he would hold the interim role no longer than necessary.

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The other commissioners are former Democratic state Sen. Jennifer Flanagan; Kay Doyle, former counsel to the state’s medical marijuana program; and Shaleen Title, who headed a cannabis industry staffing firm.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Massachusetts’ Top Cannabis Regulator Says He’s Committed to Timely Rollout

BOSTON (AP) — The state’s top marijuana regulator pledged Wednesday to implement Massachusetts’ recreational cannabis law and do his best to meet an ambitious timetable for licensing and opening retail stores in the state, but acknowledged the task won’t be easy.

Steven Hoffman, a retired business executive making his first public comments since being named chairman of the Cannabis Control Commission, also explained during the news conference why he voted against the November ballot initiative that legalized adult use of recreational marijuana.

“I actually supported the objectives of the initiative,” said Hoffman. “My concern as a private citizen was I thought the timeline was pretty short to deal with some of the complexities and public safety issues involved in implementing the law, but I am a supporter of the objectives of the law.”

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Three of the four other commissioners appointed by top state officials also voted no, prompting concern from legalization advocates that the panel might take a hostile approach to the cannabis industry or seek to delay implementation.

The Cannabis Control Commission is a new five-member panel that will oversee recreational and medical marijuana.

The Legislature delayed key deadlines in the voter-approved law by six months while it crafted revisions that included higher taxes on marijuana and stricter guidelines for labeling and packaging marijuana products.

The panel still faces a decidedly tight timetable for opening the first retail shops by mid-2018, and Hoffman on Wednesday could not entirely rule out possible further delays. He said commissioners would hold their first meeting on Tuesday and begin the process of hiring staff, with an eye toward people experienced in the legal marijuana industry.

“We recognize that we have a lot of work to do in a very short time, but we are committed to working as hard and as effectively as possible to get the job done, fairly safely and on time,” said Hoffman.

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Hoffman, 64, said he used marijuana in high school and college, though rarely since. He did reveal, however, that in July 2016 he and his wife visited a cannabis shop in Colorado, where he purchased a T-shirt and a joint he later smoked. He was impressed by the security at the store and the “amazing variety” of products offered for sale, he recalled.

Backers of the marijuana law have called on the chairman to publicly request an increase in funding for the commission, arguing that the $2 million appropriated by the state for the current fiscal year falls far short of what’s needed to meet prescribed deadlines.

While saying the commission had enough money to get started, Hoffman appeared to acknowledge the concerns about funding.

“If the current financing is inadequate, which I suspect it will be, we’ll go to the Legislature, go through our plan and say, ‘here is what we need,’” he said.

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Hoffman has no prior experience in government or in the cannabis industry, but the former Bain and Co. executive touted his experiencing in developing successful business plans for startup companies.

In addition to Hoffman, the other members of the commission are former Democratic state Sen. Jennifer Flanagan; Britte McBride, a former state attorney general; Kay Doyle, former legal counsel to the state’s medical marijuana program; and Shaleen Title, a prominent advocate for the inclusion of minority-owned businesses in the cannabis industry.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Mass. Legalization Advocates Seek Assurances From Cannabis Control Commission

A supporter holds up a “Yes on 4” sign at the 2016 Boston Freedom Rally (Scott Gacek/The Daily Chronic)

BOSTON, MA — The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), the group behind the marijuana legalization measure passed by voters last November, said today that the newly appointed Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) members who opposed Question 4 should make clear that their personal positions will not impact their board responsibilities or cause further delays in implementing the law.

The group also called for the CCC Chairman, Steven Hoffman, to request that the governor and the Legislature provide adequate funding to get the legal sales system up and running on the current schedule.

“A strong majority of Massachusetts voters passed Question 4 last November. Since then, we’ve seen a six-month delay, a deeply flawed legislative rewrite process, blown deadlines, and now a five-person regulatory board stacked with four legalization opponents. These developments in no way instill confidence that the implementation of legal marijuana sales will be any better than the state’s dreadful medical marijuana rollout,” said Jim Borghesani, Massachusetts spokesman for MPP and former communications director for the Yes on 4 Campaign.

Borghesani called for the four anti-legalization commissioners to publicly commit to adhering to the current timeline for implementation, which would allow retail sales to adults to begin on July 1, 2018.

“We want assurances, and we think the voters deserve assurances. There is too much at stake to simply sit back and hope for the best. We want to see solid commitments to advancing the will of the voters,” Borghesani said.

Matthew Schweich, Director of State Campaigns for MPP and former campaign director for the Yes on 4 Campaign, called upon CCC Chairman Steven Hoffman to request from the governor and the Legislature the level of funding necessary to implement the law without any further delays.

“Supporters of legalization, which include a majority of Massachusetts voters, have cause for concern. By a significant margin, the individuals responsible for implementing this public policy opposed its creation less than a year ago. If the CCC is truly committed to upholding the will of the people without any further delays, then Chairman Hoffman will publicly request the funding necessary to allow legal sales of marijuana to begin on July 1, 2018,” said Schweich.

State Treasurer Deb Goldberg earlier this year proposed a first-year CCC budget of $10 million. However, the current budget includes just $1.2 million for the CCC.

“The legalization policy will soon be generating millions of dollars in tax revenue for the Commonwealth, but that can only happen if the Legislature provides the funds to establish the program and regulations, and that will only happen if the CCC is committed to meeting its deadlines,” Schweich said.

Massachusetts’ track record on medical marijuana — with only 12 dispensaries open five years after voters approved the medical measure — justifies concerns about the adult-use rollout, Borghesani added.

“We heard time and time again that state officials wanted to ‘get this right,’ which is precisely what they said about medical marijuana. We need to be assured that this rollout is not going to be a repeat of the medical marijuana debacle,” said Borghesani.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Massachusetts Names Legalization Advocate Shaleen Title to Commission

The final members of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission were named today, filling out the five-member panel just before today’s deadline.

One of the appointments may come as a pleasant surprise to those in the advocacy community. Shaleen Title, co-founder of the THC Staffing Group and a co-author of the state’s legalization measure, was named to the seat intended to focus on legal, policy, and social justice issues related to the regulated industry.

The other members named today were Britte McBride, a public service lawyer who was appointed to the commission by Attorney General Maura Healey; and Kay Doyle, an attorney for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

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The previously announced appointees are outgoing State Sen. Jennifer Flanagan and business executive Steven Hoffman. Flanagan, Hoffman, and McBride opposed last year’s legalization measure. Title supported it (she helped write it), and Doyle’s opinion on the measure is unknown.

Title: Bolsters panel’s policy chops and industry knowledge.

Title comes into the job as the commissioner with the most knowledge of the legal industry around the nation. She’s known for her advocacy work to bring more women and people of color into both the drug policy reform movement and the emerging legal cannabis industry. Title has also served as a board member for Students for Sensible Drug Policy, where she helped create and fund a diversity scholarship program. In 2012, she served as a senior staffer on the campaign for Amendment 64, Colorado’s historic adult-use legalization measure.

In recent years she’s served as a partner, with Danielle Schumacher, in the cannabis industry recruiting firm THC Staffing, which connects employers with candidates from diverse backgrounds and a variety of industries. On that topic, Title has been interviewed by Leafly and contributed advice to those entering the industry.

The five-member commission will act as an independent state agency established to regulate and oversee the state’s new adult-use cannabis program, which is expected to open in 2018. The Cannabis Control Commission will receive advice from the 25-member Cannabis Advisory Board, whose members are also appointed by the governor, attorney general, and treasurer.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Former Bain Executive to Lead Massachusetts Cannabis Regulatory Agency

BOSTON (AP) — State Treasurer Deb Goldberg has named a former business executive to serve as chairman of the Cannabis Control Commission, the agency that will regulate marijuana in Massachusetts.

Once in place, the panel will face a number of challenges including a limited budget and an ambitious timetable.

Goldberg announced the appointment of Steven Hoffman on Thursday. Hoffman is a former partner at Bain and Co., where he headed the firm’s Boston office.

He is the second person appointed to the five-member commission, which under law is supposed to be in place by Friday.

The only other member chosen so far is outgoing Democratic state Sen. Jennifer Flanagan, who was named last week by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.

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Attorney General Maura Healey also will make a unilateral appointment to the commission.

The final two members of the panel will be chosen by mutual agreement of Baker, Goldberg and Healey.

Once in place, the panel will face a number of challenges including a limited budget and an ambitious timetable as it works to implement the voter-approved law — later revised by the Legislature — that allows for adult use of recreational marijuana.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.