“It has never been clearer that the rules for municipalities to select businesses should be strengthened.”
If you thought former Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commissioners Shaleen Title and Steve Hoffman were going to simply sit back and puff now that their terms are over, you were wrong.
The pair, which didn’t always see eye to eye on everything but nevertheless stuck together when it came to various critical measures around social equity in the industry, recently trumpeted a call by community leaders for a fully-funded equity program, sending “the following letter to the Massachusetts legislative leaders and conference committee urging them to finish the job of passing a law for cannabis equity”:
Dear President Spilka, Speaker Mariano, Sen. Comerford, Sen. Fattman, Sen. Rodrigues, Rep. Donahue, Rep. Muratore, and Rep. Wagner,
Thank you for your leadership to advance our common goal of a fair and equitable cannabis industry in Massachusetts. We appreciate your responsiveness to the times we’ve previously asked you for help, and we are encouraged by your work to pass omnibus bills this year to address those concerns. We write you today to ask you to finish the job to get the bill done and on the governor’s desk.
As we noted in 2020, although Massachusetts led the nation by being the first state to require cannabis regulators like us to create economic empowerment pathways for communities most harmed by the war on drugs, we lag behind other states that have created, among other solutions, funds for small businesses to access capital. A final bill to create a fund for Massachusetts with 20% of excess tax revenue will help to level the playing field for our residents.
With yet another arrest by federal authorities this month for a marijuana business representative allegedly attempting to bribe a local official, it has never been clearer that the rules for municipalities to select businesses should be strengthened. The host-community agreement process has been abused to the detriment of small and minority-owned businesses for almost six years straight now.
We are grateful for your thoughtful attention to these issues and your dedication to fairness and justice in the Commonwealth. We hope you will act quickly to finalize this bill while we still have a narrow window of opportunity to create a fair market, a move that will make a positive impact on our state for generations to come.
Steven Hoffman (Former Chairman, Cannabis Control Commission, 2017-2022)
Shaleen Title (Former Commissioner, Cannabis Control Commission, 2017-2020)