Court docs shed light on suspension of Massachusetts marijuana regulator

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Shannon O’Brien allegedly made insensitive remarks leading up to her suspension as chair of Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission, court documents show.

Until recently, the exact nature of the allegations against O’Brien were unclear.

She was suspended with pay in September by Massachusetts Treasurer Deborah Goldberg.

O’Brien faced unspecified “serious allegations” and launched a lawsuit over the suspension, although she later dropped that suit after being granted a hearing.

According to the court filing, the allegations involved an investigator’s report charging that O’Brien made “racially, ethnically, culturally insensitive statements” and used the word “yellow” to refer to “a person of Asian heritage,” Boston NPR station WBUR reported.

In a court filing, O’Brien said she used “yellow” while quoting someone else’s words.

“O’Brien said she should not have repeated his exact words,” WBUR reported.

In the latest development in O’Brien’s case, a judge sided with the suspended commission chair and delayed a Tuesday meeting that could have led to her termination.

Tuesday’s ruling “is the first step in getting my good reputation back after ten weeks of being smeared by the actions of Treasurer Goldberg in suspending me with no process in place for a fair and impartial hearing,” O’Brien said in a statement.

The latest drama regarding O’Brien’s suspension comes toward the end of a tumultuous year for Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission.

Executive Director Shawn Collins has formally resigned, bringing an end to uncertainty over the leadership of the regulatory agency.