BOSTON (AP) — A five-member board in charge of regulating marijuana in Massachusetts is getting down to business–and the man tasked with leading the board says he’s now feeling more confident about meeting the deadline for marijuana retail stores opening in the Commonwealth.
The nascent Cannabis Control Commission held its first public meeting Tuesday in temporary office space near the Statehouse in Boston.
Commission chairman Steven Hoffman said future meetings would be held all across the state.
The board filled several positions at the meeting, including electing Commissioner Kay Doyle as Secretary and Commissioner Jennifer Flanagan as Treasurer. Hoffman was named interim Acting Executive Director until a permanent head could be found.
Hoffman was not a supporter of the ballot question that legalized pot in the Commonwealth–he said he thought the timeline was too short to address the complexities that come from building a recreational pot industry–but he has said he supports the objectives of the law and is committed to executing it in good faith.
“We recognize that we have a lot of work to do in a very short period of time, but we are committed to work as hard and as effectively as we possibly can to get the job done fairly, safely, and on time,” Hoffman said.
Last week, Hoffman says he couldn’t guarantee that they could meet the deadline of opening pot stores across the state in mid-2018.
“My understanding is that it is an expectation, but not explicitly part of the law, that retail establishments open July 1 of 2018, and that’s our intent at this point,” Hoffman said.
But after the meeting, Hoffman said he was “more optimistic” about that deadline.
“Actually, I know this is going to sound a bit strange, but I’m actually more optimistic than I was last week,” he told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Doug Cope. “Partly because, just in my own mind, I’ve really been able to think of this task list. I can now understand more what needs to be done, before it was a little bit of a mystery to me.
Hoffman said he’s gotten unsolicited offers of help from all over state government, reassuring him.
Jim Borghesani of the pro-marijuana group Yes On 4 is very glad to hear that.
“We’re very gratified to have the commissioner’s meeting today and, at least seemingly to me, indicating a willingness to move forward and a desire to meet the deadlines in front of them,” he said. “I’d like to think that he thinks that there’s no reason why Massachusetts can’t act with the same organization ability as any other state. We have very talented people in this state. We have very talented people on this commission.”
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Doug Cope reports