BOSTON (SHNS) – When the Cannabis Control Commission marks its five-year anniversary on Thursday, it will also get a new chairperson — former state Treasurer Shannon O’Brien.
Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, who is responsible for appointing someone with a financial background to chair the marijuana industry regulatory body, announced Tuesday that she will swear in O’Brien, who served as state treasurer from 1999 until 2003, as chair of the CCC on Wednesday.
“I am confident that her financial background, experience in corporate governance, executive management, and business development, combined with outstanding leadership skills and an acute knowledge of the legislative process, will help the Massachusetts cannabis industry be fairly regulated, equitable, and successful,” Goldberg said of O’Brien, who follows interim Chair Sarah Kim and inaugural CCC Chair Steven Hoffman.
O’Brien, who served six years in the Massachusetts House and two years in the Massachusetts Senate in the late 1980s and 1990s, was the Democratic Party’s nominee for governor in 2002 but she lost the general election to Mitt Romney. After leaving politics, O’Brien worked at Boston TV station WB 56, and then served three years as CEO of the Girl Scouts of Greater Boston. She was appointed by New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to serve as chair of the Pension Reform Commission from 2008 to 2010. She serves as the chair of the Massachusetts Baby Bonds Task Force, but Goldberg’s office said O’Brien will not continue in that role. She’s also worked with health care, clean energy, financial services and telecommunications companies through her O’Brien Advisory Group.
O’Brien said in an announcement Tuesday that she is eager to get to work implementing the new cannabis industry reform law that Gov. Charlie Baker signed earlier this month to give the CCC greater authority to regulate host community agreements and to provide a dedicated source of funding for equity and inclusion efforts among the cannabis industry.
“The industry has grown rapidly since the voters legalized recreational cannabis in 2016, topping $3 billion in sales this past spring. While the law was intended to create new economic opportunities for diverse communities and those previously harmed by harsh drug laws, this promise has not been fully achieved, leaving many aspiring equity entrepreneurs with a very challenging pathway to achieve the success that larger corporate interests have enjoyed,” O’Brien said. “I am eager to get to work implementing some of the positive changes written into the recent reform law passed by the Legislature, including new access to capital for entrepreneurs, on site consumption, and enhanced oversight of Host Community Agreements.”