Credibility At Stake? Cannabis Control Chair Has Interest In Two Marijuana Projects Before Her Board

Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission tapped former state treasurer Shannon O'Brien earlier this month to serve as its new chairperson, replacing interim chair Sarah Kim and inaugural CCC chair Steven Hoffman.

Now, the commission risks losing credibility.

What happened: O'Brien's name was found to be listed on two cannabis cultivation applications, reported the Boston Herald.

According to the documents reviewed by the Herald, O'Brien was one of the people on the applications filed by Greenfield Greenery LLC in 2020 and Charlemont FarmWorks LLC, both of which were approved by the CCC.

O'Brien, the 2002 Democratic nominee for governor, is being paid $181,722 in her new position. She was listed as "owner/partner" of the Greenfield Greenery proposal, which sought to launch an outdoor cultivation operation. 

The company submitted a host of community agreements with the city of Greenfield in October 2020. Two months later, Greenfield Greenery notified city officials that it planned to operate a marijuana business.

In mid-2021, O'Brien, who was then listed as the company's CEO, reached out to the city's zoning board of appeals, stating that "their mission is to develop an outdoor sun-grown cannabis cultivation facility in partnership with local farmers."

In the second application by Charlemont FarmWorks, O'Brien was named as an advisor.

What's Next?

The state's regulatory body is aware of the issue, a spokesperson for the commission said, adding that a request for a change of ownership of the Greenfield dispensary filed in May still awaits processing.

Joe Battenfeld, a veteran Herald political columnist, is calling for the resignation of both O'Brien and treasurer Deb Goldberg who appointed her to the position.

"Because this state is a Hackerama and O'Brien is a former Democratic state official, she will get a pass unless someone steps up to put pressure on her to resign or at least explain her business interests," Battenfeld said.

Meanwhile, Goldberg had only words of praise for O'Brien, who spent six years serving in the Massachusetts House and two years in the state Senate in the late 1980s and 1990s.

"I am confident that her financial background, experience in corporate governance, executive management, and business development, combined with outstanding leadership skills and an acute knowledge of the legislative process, will help the Massachusetts cannabis industry be fairly regulated, equitable, and successful," the state treasurer said.

Photo: Courtesy of geralt and Kindel Media by Pixabay

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsEntrepreneurshipPoliticsTopicsMarketsGeneralBoardDeb GoldbergJoe BattenfeldMassachusetts Cannabis Control CommissionShannon O'Brien
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