Gov. Charlie Baker’s first pick for the five-member Cannabis Control Commission is Sen. Jennifer Flanagan, a Leominster Democrat. Notably, Flanagan voted against the 2016 ballot question legalizing adult use cannabis in Massachusetts, telling the Lowell Sun that she was concerned about the “many unknowns and unanswered questions about what this would mean for the Commonwealth.” She has also made substance abuse prevention and treatment one of her main focuses in the Legislature.
“Her experience and service will be invaluable to the Cannabis Control Commission and to the people of Massachusetts as the Commission, our administration, the Treasurer, Attorney General, lawmakers, educators, and public health and safety professionals work together to ensure the effective, responsible, and safe implementation of the adult use of marijuana in the Commonwealth,” Baker said in a statement.
Flanagan will resign her seat at the end of the month to assume her new duties. She is the first to be named to the new Cannabis Control Commission, which has been tasked with regulating and licensing Massachusetts’ new cannabis industry. The Commission is scheduled to be in place by September 1, and will be under the gun to meet the Legislature’s target date to begin licensing retail marijuana shops by June 1, 2018.
Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and Attorney General Maura Healey each get to fill a seat on the five-person Commission, with the remaining two commissioners chosen by a consensus of Baker, Goldberg, and Healey. Given the Commission’s immense regulatory power, their choices will shape the future of the industry.
“I look forward to serving on the Commission as Massachusetts moves forward in responsibly regulating this new industry,” Flanagan said in a statement on Wednesday.