Massachusetts marijuana regulatory agency ‘in crisis’ as chief quits

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The sudden departure of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission’s executive director puts the organization “in crisis,” according to the agency’s chair.

The executive director of the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC), Shawn Collins, who has led the agency since its 2017 inception, will officially depart at the end of the year, Chair Shannon O’Brien announced Friday.

Collins has yet to officially confirm his resignation, State House News reported.

But the state’s marijuana regulator is already effectively leaderless, as Collins began a family leave Monday, according to the news outlet.


“We are in crisis right now as a commission,” O’Brien, a former state treasurer who became the CCC’s chair last year, told State House News.

“We need to make sure that we know how to manage through this regulatory process.”

Collins exits during a key time for the CCC and the Massachusetts marijuana industry, including:

  • Changes to the state’s controversial host community agreements that allow local governments to charge cannabis businesses for services provided as well as questions of social equity.
  • The state’s social equity fund currently sits with zero funding more than a year after its creation.
  • Criticism that the CCC is too close to the state’s cannabis industry and routinely retaliates against licensees who question decisions.
  • Concerns about the appointment of a former manager of a major cannabis testing laboratory as the state’s director of marijuana testing, and O’Brien having consulted for two MJ companies before she joined the CCC. O’Brien’s previous work was not disclosed before her appointment.