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Marijuana commission chair confident in board

Marijuana commission chair confident in board”

Officials said they need additional time to look at regulations regarding the recent changes with state law and medical marijuana. He said while he supported the objectives of the initiative, he was concerned about the tight timeline for implementing the new law.

Hoffman has no prior experience in government or in the cannabis industry, but the former Bain and Co. executive touted his experiencing in developing successful business plans for startup companies.

Under the law, the commission will begin accepting applications for licenses no later than April 1, 2018.

Hoffman, a 64-year-old retired business executive and Bain & Company alum, moved early to try to ease concerns of advocates, who are anxious that the commission's make-up - four of the five members voted against the ballot question legalizing marijuana - could handicap the industry.

"I've done start-ups. This is a start-up", Hoffman said.

Asked to describe his vision for the marijuana industry, Hoffman said, "It's one where marijuana for adult use is accessible, where it is regulated so that the people that are involved in industry at all levels starting with cultivation through retail are operating safe and efficient businesses, and it's one that generates revenue for the state".

While saying the commission had enough money to get started, Hoffman appeared to acknowledge the concerns about funding.

Hoffman said he recognizes now that one of his and the commission's main obstacles is exactly that - time.

"I find it amazingly ironic that my concerns as a private citizen in November of 2016, I'm now part of the commission that has the responsibility of addressing those concerns", he said.

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At Tuesday morning's commission meeting, commissioners voted to extend the ordinance until December 31, 2017.

Other commission members include ex-state Sen. Jennifer Flanagan, former deputy general counsel to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Kay Doyle, and attorney Britte McBride.

Title is the only member to vote for legalization.

The Yes on 4 Coalition and Marijuana Policy Project, which led the push to legalize marijuana in MA, raised concerns that four of the five commissioners opposed the 2016 ballot initiative and called on each of them to commit to implementing the law without additional delays.

"We want assurances, and we think the voters deserve assurances.

These developments in no way instill confidence that the implementation of legal marijuana sales will be any better than the state's terrible medical marijuana rollout", said Jim Borghesani, Massachusetts spokesman for MPP and former communications director for the Yes on 4 Campaign. "We want to see solid commitments to advancing the will of the voters".

"I don't believe any one of them would have taken the job if they felt they weren't able to faithfully implement the law".

The 64-year-old Hoffman said marijuana was ubiquitous in his younger years - "I went to high school in the 60s and I went to college in the early 70s", he said - and that he last used marijuana a little more than a year ago. Hoffman doesn't use the drug much these days, he said, but he recounted buying a joint from a Colorado dispensary in 2016 and smoking it before watching a July 4 fireworks show. "Our study says that 93 percent of marijuana sold in Washington is probably staying there now". "But not because of any reason other than personal preference".



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