Pubdate: Fri, 01 Sep 2017
Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA)
Copyright: 2017 Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Author: Colin A. Young, State House News Service


BOSTON -- Marijuana legalization opponents will outnumber supporters
four to one on the new commission that will spearhead the state's
efforts to get a legal marijuana industry up and running by next
summer and then regulate the newly legal market.

Attorney General Maura Healey on Friday appointed Britte McBride, a
lawyer with experience working for the attorney general's office, the
state Senate and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security,
to the newly minted Cannabis Control Commission, and joined Gov.
Charlie Baker and Treasurer Deborah Goldberg in agreeing on two picks
to round out the five-person panel.

McBride, a Lynnfield resident, will join former state Sen. Jennifer
Flanagan of Leominster and former Bain and Company partner Steve
Hoffman, who were previously announced this week, on the CCC. Like
Hoffman and Flanagan, McBride voted against Question 4, the successful
ballot initiative that legalized adult use of marijuana last year,
according to Healey's office.

The three constitutional officers on Friday also agreed to appoint Kay
Doyle, a former deputy general counsel to the Massachusetts Department
of Public Health, and Shaleen Title, co-founder of cannabis recruiting
firm THC Staffing Group, to the commission.

Title was a supporter of marijuana legalization and worked with the
Yes on 4 Coalition to draft the initiative petition that nearly 1.8
million Massachusetts voters approved last November.

"I'm honored to be entrusted with implementing the will of the
commonwealth's voters in forming a new post-prohibition approach to
regulating marijuana in (sic) way that will effectively protect public
health and safety," Title said in a statement. "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 is a founding board member of the Minority Cannabis Business
Association, sits on the boards of the Family Law and Cannabis
Alliance and Marijuana Majority, and serves as a trustee for Students
for Sensible Drug Policy, officials said.

While working for the Department of Public Health, Doyle was the
primary counsel to the Medical Use of Marijuana Program and previously
had represented private and municipal clients in civil rights, land
use and medical marijuana regulation matters as an attorney for
Kopelman and Paige.

"I look forward to working with Chairman Hoffman and my fellow
commissioners to implement safe and sensible regulations that protect
the health and wellness of Massachusetts residents," Doyle said in a

Doyle voted no on Question 4 last year because she had concerns about
the initiative, the governor's office said.

As the commission came together over the past two weeks, the Yes on 4
coalition behind the marijuana legalization effort has pushed for
"balance" on the CCC and a guarantee that the panel will have the
funding it needs to do its work and avoid further retail licensing
delays. Spokesman Jim Borghesani could not immediately be reached for
comment Friday afternoon.

Healey's individual pick for the CCC, McBride, previously worked as
legal counsel to the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety within
the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, deputy counsel to
the Massachusetts Senate, and for seven years was an assistant
attorney general under then-Attorney General Martha Coakley.

"Britte will bring vast experience to the commission after spending
more than a decade working at the intersection of law, regulatory
policy, and public safety," Healey said in a statement. "Her knowledge
and expertise in public policy, rule-writing, and government
transparency will be an asset to the Commission and the state as this
new industry is launched in Massachusetts."

In a statement, she said, "It is important that we do this right ...
We have a lot of work ahead of us, and I am excited to get started."

McBride is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and Suffolk
University Law School, according to Healey's office.

The commission will be under a tight schedule to get up and running
and begin issuing regulations and setting up an application process to
be able to begin licensing retail marijuana shops. The CCC is required
to promulgate initial regulations on roughly three dozen topics by
March 15, 2018, and then must begin accepting licenses for retail,
cultivation and manufacturing facilities by April 1, 2018. After
voting in December to delay many key aspects of the ballot law by six
months, the Legislature's target date to begin licensing retail pot
shops is June 1, 2018.

The Cannabis Control Commission, which was modeled after the
Massachusetts Gaming Commission, has also been tasked with setting
potency limits for edible marijuana products and packaging
requirements that conform to health and safety standards set by the

The CCC will also have to coordinate with the Department of Public
Health to oversee a transfer of the state's medical marijuana program
from the auspices of DPH to the oversight of the CCC. That transfer of
responsibilities, personnel and funds is required to take place no
later than Dec. 31, 2018.
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