Pubdate: Thu, 31 Aug 2017
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2017 Globe Newspaper Company
Author: Dan Adams


Steven Hoffman, a veteran corporate executive and consultant, was
named the chair of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, the
newly created agency that will usher in an era of legal marijuana use.

The appointment Thursday by state Treasurer Deborah Goldberg makes
Hoffman, a 63-year-old Lincoln resident, the state's top marijuana
regulator. He will hire the commission's executive director and other
staff, and oversee the writing of new rules to govern marijuana
cultivators, processors, and both medical and recreational

"I am honored to be appointed Chair of the Cannabis Control Commission
by Treasurer Goldberg," Hoffman said in a statement. "I hope to guide
this Commission thoughtfully and responsibly as we implement the
legalization of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts. We have a lot
to do, I am excited to get to work."

Hoffman has no experience with the cannabis industry. He worked from
1980 to 1992 at Bain & Company, the powerhouse consulting firm where
he eventually became a partner and the head of its large Boston office.

Hoffman later worked in senior leadership positions at Sapient,
ThinkFire, and most recently, Exchange Solutions, a Lincoln firm that
manages customer loyalty programs for retailers.

"Steven brings a wealth of invaluable experience from a long and
distinguished career in business development, corporate strategy and
senior management," Goldberg said in a statement. "I am confident that
he will serve the Commonwealth well and steer this brand-new industry
in the right direction."

Under language in the new marijuana law that was copied from the
Massachusetts casino gaming statute, Goldberg was required to appoint
a chair with experience in "corporate management, finance or
securities." She had previously complained of difficulty finding
candidates with that background who were willing to take on the
commission's difficult work for the $160,000 salary set by the

"The unnecessarily restrictive qualification language for the chair
posed a hurdle for Treasurer Goldberg, but she seems to have selected
a chair with impressive credentials," said Jim Borghesani, who handled
communications for last year's successful marijuana legalization
campaign. "We hope that the remaining appointments are made on time
and that the CCC receives the funding necessary to achieve its
regulatory and timeline objectives."

Sept. 1 is the deadline for the appointment of the agency's other
commissioners. Attorney General Maura Healey is expected to announce
her pick Friday. Healey, Goldberg, and Governor Charlie Baker must
also announce two jointly appointed commissioners Friday.

Baker previously announced the appointment of longtime state Senator
Jen Flanagan as commissioner.

Hoffman faces an excruciatingly tight timeline. A package of revisions
to the voter-approved marijuana law enacted by legislators in July
sets a July 1, 2018, target date for dispensaries to open.
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MAP posted-by: Matt