Keller @ Large: Tracking the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission


THREE OUT OF FOUR YEARS CAN THEY DO IT? WE SHALL SEE HERE. THANKS KATE. MUCH APPRECIATED HERE AND 8:34 ON THIS SUNDAY IT’S TIME NOW FOR KELLER AT LARGE. HERE’S JOHN KELLER. ♪ [ MUSIC ] ♪ GOOD MORNING. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US AND GO PATRIOTS. AS OF LAST THURSDAY WE ARE JUST FIVE MONTHS AWAY FROM THE ERA OF LEGAL GROWING SALES AND USE OF MARIJUANA FOR RECREATIONAL PURPOSES HERE IN MASSACHUSETTS. AND HERE TO GIVE US AN UPDATE ON THE DIFFICULT PROCESS OF IMPLEMENTING THE LAW, VOTERS APPROVED IN 2016 STEVE HOFFMAN IS CHAIRMAN OF THE MASSACHUSETTS CANNABIS CONTROL COMMISSION. STEVE WELCOME. GOOD MORNING THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME HERE. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US WE REALLY APPRECIATE IT. A BILL HAS BEEN FILED ON BEACON HILL THAT WOULD BAR STATE AND LOCAL POLICE FROM COOPERATING WITH THE FEDS IF THEY DECIDE TO GO AFTER THE POT INDUSTRY HERE AND ELSEWHERE AROUND THE COUNTRY AS ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS HAS SUGGESTED MIGHT HAPPEN. IT’S CALLED A SANCTUARY STATE PROPOSAL. IS THAT NECESSARY FROM YOUR POINT OF VIEW? I CAN’T SPEAK TO WHAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS LIKELY TO DO. YOU KNOW, WE ARE DOING THE JOB THAT WE ARE APPOINTED TO DO BY THE STATE AND ARE GOING TO IMPLEMENT THE LAWS THAT THE STATE PASSED. WHAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO DO IS NOT SOMETHING WE ARE SPECULATING ON. LET’S APPROACH IT THIS WAY. SURE. HOW POTENTIALLY COMPLICATING IS THE TASK OF SOLICITING ENTREPRENEURS AND OTHERS TO PUT UP THE UP FRONT CAPITAL IT TAKES TO GET INVOLVED IN THIS BUSINESS IS THE NOTION THAT CONCEIVABLELY AT ANY MOMENT THE FEDS COULD COME KNOCKING AT THE DOOR. THERE’S NO QUESTION IT’S ADDING COMPLEXITY AND RISK TO THE INDUSTRY. I CAN’T SPEAK TO HOW POTENTIAL INVESTORS ARE THINKING ABOUT IT OTHER THAN IF I WAS IN THEIR SHOES WHICH OF COURSE I’M NOT. I CANNOT INMOLEST THE INDUSTRY LET ME MAKE IT CLEAR BUT I’D BE DOING A RISK ASSESSMENT AND MAKING AN INFORMED JUDGMENT BUT THE RISK PROFILE UNQUESTIONABLY HAS CHANGED SO RISK ANALYSIS UNQUESTIONABLELY AS CHANGED. I CAN’T ANTICIPATE BUT I’M STILL SURE WE ARE GOING TO FIND OUT. IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. AND I’M SURE WE ARE GOING TO GET PLENTY OF APPLICATIONS. READING THIS INTERVIEW YOU VOTED AGAINST THE BALLOT QUESTION IN 2016. WHY? I WAS A PRIVATE CITIZEN. DIDN’T KNOW THIS COMMISSION EXISTED AND I CERTAINLY DIDN’T ANTICIPATE BEING IN THIS THIS CHAIR. IT WAS A COMPLICATED ISSUE AND THE TIMEFRAME WAS SHORT. I SUPPORT THE OBJECTIVES IN TERMS OF ELIMINATING THE BLACK MARKET AND MAKING THIS ACCESSIBLE AND SAFE AND GENERATING JOBS AND TAX REVENUE FOR THE STATE SO I SUPPORTED THE OBJECTIVES BUT THOUGHT THE TIMEFRAME WAS SHORT AND IRONIC THAT I’M SITTING IN THIS ROLE RIGHT NOW BECAUSE IT IS A SHORT TIMEFRAME AND COMPLICATED SET OF ISSUES. WAS YOUR ASSESSMENT RIGHT? NOW THAT YOU ARE IN CHARGE IS IT PROVING TO BE TOO SHORT? I THINK IT’S A SHORT TIMEFRAME. I WON’T SAY IT IS TOO SHORT. I WANT TO COMPLIMENT THE GOVERNOR AND ATTORNEY GENERAL AND THEY PUT TOGETHER A STRONG COMMISSION WITH IMBUED CROSS SECTION OF EXPERIENCE AND BACKGROUNDS. I THINK WE ARE UP TO THE TASK BUT IT’S A SHORT TIMEFRAME. BECAUSE YOU HAVE UNTIL NEXT MONTH. RIGHT. TO FIGURE THE REGULATIONS. WE DID DRAFT REGULATIONS AND GIVING THE PUBLIC A MONTH PLUS. THAT STARTS TOMORROW. MONDAY, YES EXCUSE ME TOMORROW. I FORGOT. WE TAPE ON FRIDAY, SORRY. I APOLOGIZE. AND ANY CASE WE ARE STARTING TOMORROW WITH TEN DAYS OF TEN PUBLIC HEARINGS AROUND THE STATE AND SO PEOPLE HAVE HAD A CHANCE TO REVIEW OUR DRAFT REGULATIONS, COME UP WITH CONCERNS OR QUESTIONS. WE ARE GOING TO GO AROUND THE STATE AND HEAR THOSE CONCERNS AND MEET IN PUBLIC AS WE HAVE ALL ALONG AND DEBATE THE DRAFT REGULATIONS AND DEBATE WHETHER WE THINK THERE ARE CHANGES OR MODIFICATIONS BASED ON THE INPUT NOT JUST FROM PUBLIC HEARINGS BUT WE’VE BEEN HEARING FROM ELECTED OFFICIALS AND INDUSTRY ASSOCIATIONS WITH ADVOCATES AND ARE TAKING ALL OF THAT AND GOING TO WEIGH THAT AND MAKE A JUDGMENT ABOUT WHETHER WE NEED TO MODIFY. AND THEN YOUR FINAL DECISIONS COME OUT IN MARCH RIGHT? YES THE FINAL REGULATION. SIX WEEKS. MARCH 15 AND THAT’S A LEGISLATIVE MANDATE WE’LL HIT. AFTER THAT PEOPLE CAN START APPLIES. APRIL 1 IS THE FIRST DATE TO REVIEW APPLICATIONS AND JUNE 1 IS THE FIRST DATE TO ACCEPT AND JULY 1 IS THE EXPECTATION WE HAVE THE TARGET WE ARE COMMITTED TO JULY 1 IS THE FIRST DATE PEOPLE CAN OPEN FOR BUSINESS. JULY 1 COULD SLIDE. IF WE ARE NOT READY IT WILL SLIDE. IT’S MORE IMPORTANT TO DO IT RIGHT THAN ON TIME ALTHOUGH RIGHT NOW WE THINK WE CAN DO BOTH. VERY BRIEFLY BECAUSE WE’VE GOT TO BREAK BUT HOW WILL READINESS BE DEFINED AT THAT MOMENT. FROM MY PERSPECTIVE THAT WE HAVE A FULL STAFF SO THAT WE CAN NOT ONLY EVALUATE LICENSES BUT CAN ENFORCE THEM. WE HAVE OUR TECHNOLOGY IN PLACE TO TRACK THE PRODUCT FROM SEED TO SALE TO ENSURE THERE’S NO ELICIT PRODUCT COMING IN FROM THE MARKET, NOTHING OUT OF STATE LICENSING AND TECHNOLOGY IN PLACE AND OUR STAFF IS IN PLACE TRAINED AND WE ARE READY TO GO BUT UNLESS THOSE THINGS ARE IN PLACE WE WILL NOT LAUNCH. BOY. I’M CONVINCED WE CAN DO IT BUT MORE IMPORTANT TO DO RIGHT THAN ON TIME.

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