BOSTON, Mass. (SHNS)– The Cannabis Control Commission will be in the midst of its own meeting when the Senate begins debate Thursday afternoon on wide-ranging marijuana legislation that addresses numerous CCC priorities, but commissioners made clear Thursday morning that they plan to keep a close eye on the bill.
“For someone like me, who’s always looking to create access and opportunities for others, I’m really excited and — I will say this publicly, optimistic — about today’s Senate [session] and I’m really looking forward to hearing just good news in real-time,” Commissioner Nurys Camargo said. “Anyone out there who’s on Twitter, or Instagram, feel free to send me real-time information.”
The bill on tap in the Senate (S 2801) is designed to tackle issues that activists, regulators, businesses and municipalities have said are holding Massachusetts back from realizing the full potential of the 2016 legalization law, especially its first-in-the-nation social equity mandates. It includes provisions the CCC has advocated for: the authority to regulate, review, and enforce host community agreements, the creation of a social equity fund, and a technical fix to allow social consumption sites to be approved by towns.
“I am certainly not making any predictions or declaring victory, but I do want to thank the Senate for all of the attention they paid to this matter, all the energy they put into it, for meeting with myself and my fellow commissioners and listening to our arguments in favor of this legislation, as well as giving us the opportunity to answer questions or address concerns,” CCC Chairman Steven Hoffman said.
Hoffman said he, other commissioners and CCC Director of Government Affairs and Policy Matt Giancola “spent a lot of time over the last month meeting with pretty much every member of the Senate, but certainly a significant percentage of them, talking about the bill and its importance, answering questions and addressing concerns.” “While, again, I’m not declaring victory, I certainly think that we have advanced the cause significantly and I guess I’ll have my fingers crossed as the day goes on,” the chairman said.
Commissioner Kimberly Roy said she especially wanted to thank Sens. Bruce Tarr, Patrick O’Connor and John Keenan “for their focus on public health.” Those three senators account for 16 of the 33 amendments proposed to the Senate bill, covering road safety, potency limits for marijuana products, advertising restrictions and more.