GREENFIELD, Mass. (State House News Service) – Cannabis Control Commission Chairwoman Shannon O’Brien did not break any CCC regulations with her ties to a company that the commission regulates, a CCC investigation released Wednesday concluded.

An application from the cultivation company O’Brien once held an ownership stake in was remanded to investigation and enforcement staff when it came before the commission in October for a final license. After discussing the findings Thursday, the other commissioners approved the company for a final license.

The investigation was prompted by confusion over whether O’Brien, who took over as chair of the CCC in September 2022, still had control of Greenfield Greenery LLC. She was listed as a person with direct or indirect control of the outdoor cultivation facility when it secured a provisional license on Feb. 11, 2021. When that provisional license was approved for renewal on Feb. 10, 2022, O’Brien was no longer listed as a person with control, but the CCC did not get the required request for a change of ownership until May 22, 2022.

Commission regulations require marijuana establishments to inform the CCC if the people or entities in control of the establishment change and, in some cases such as with Greenfield Greenery, request the commission’s approval.

O’Brien’s removal was appropriately reported to the commission via the company’s renewal application in December 2021, the investigation says, and investigators did not discover any information that contradicted the company’s change of ownership application in May 2022.

Investigators also confirmed that O’Brien disclosed her prior ownership of the cultivation company to state Treasurer Deb Goldberg before she was appointed to chair the commission. The investigation said O’Brien was removed from the company on Nov. 24, 2021 and reported the change to the secretary of state’s Corporate Division on Dec. 20, 2021.

During a discussion of the investigation at a CCC meeting on Thursday, from which O’Brien recused herself, Commissioner Kimberly Roy asked Licensing Director Kyle Potvin if he could “unequivocally” state that O’Brien holds no ownership stake in Greenfield Greenery.

“Shannon O’Brien in her personal capacity does not have an ownership stake over this license any longer,” Potvin responded.

The commission did issue a notice of deficiency to Greenfield Greenery for making changes in ownership before receiving commission approval, but investigators said that the “violations were not in relation to O’Brien’s prior involvement with the Licensee.”

Executive Director Shawn Collins said at the meeting that deficiency notices for making a personnel change prior to commission approval are a “common occurrence.”

“I want to use this moment as a teaching example, for licensees that are listening,” Commissioner Bruce Stebbins said. “Notify us when somebody new is coming on board, ask for that change of ownership. It’s helpful not to put yourself in a position of potentially violating our regulations by not taking those steps.”

After discussing the results of the investigation, commissioners also then approved the company’s change of ownership application, as well as its final license application.

“I’m happy to see if we vote in the affirmative that we will have another outdoor farmer in Massachusetts,” Roy said before the vote. “We have a very finite number of outdoor farmers, they get expedited review. New England is a tough place, climate wise, to be able to have outdoor crops, so I’m just grateful that this investigation is brought before us with a conclusion and we are able to vote on an outdoor farmer.”