MA regulatory board appointee opposed recreational cannabis

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A Democratic state senator who opposed the ballot question that legalized recreational marijuana in Massachusetts was appointed Wednesday to the regulatory board that will oversee the state’s cannabis industry.

Sen. Jennifer Flanagan, the first appointee to the five-member Cannabis Control Commission, will serve as an associate commissioner beginning Sept. 1, after she resigns from her Senate seat.

The Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) will oversee both recreational and medical marijuana and is charged with screening and licensing applicants for retail stores that are expected to begin opening in mid-2018.

The choice of Gov. Charlie Baker, Flanagan opposed marijuana initiative on the November ballot, citing concerns over unknown or unanswered questions about what legalization might mean to Massachusetts. Baker also opposed the ballot question, which voters approved by a 53% margin.

Legalization advocate Jim Borghesani said he hoped Flanagan “would put her personal position aside to advance the will of Massachusetts voters.”

He noted that Baker earlier selected an outspoken opponent of marijuana legalization – Walpole Police Chief John Carmichael Jr. – to serve on the Cannabis Advisory Board that will make recommendations to the CCC.

– Associated Press