Cannabis Reform in Massachusetts a Win-Win for Industry, State

By Jennifer Flanagan

Aug 26, 2022

Jennifer Flanagan authored a piece for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, where she reflects on the Commonwealth's first major cannabis reform legislation since Massachusetts established a regulated adult-use cannabis market.

This month, Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law the first major cannabis reform legislation since Massachusetts established a regulated adult-use cannabis market. It includes several reforms aimed at important issues that have been advocated for over the past five years, which promise to benefit not only the local cannabis industry but the commonwealth as a whole.

Since the passage of Question 4 in 2016, Massachusetts has endeavored to create a well-regulated and sustainable cannabis industry that upholds the intent of the ballot question and protects the public health and safety of consumers and the broader community. While some critics believe the rollout of the adult-use cannabis industry in Massachusetts has been less than ideal, our state has succeeded in its mission. Despite considerable hurdles – the illegal status of cannabis, the quick timeline established, and lack of established best practices, just to name a few – Massachusetts now has a thriving, stable cannabis industry

I have a rather unique perspective on the matter. I was a state senator when voters approved legalization. I was an inaugural member of the Cannabis Control Commission throughout the implementation process and now work as the director of regulatory policy for the nationally recognized law firm Vicente Sederberg LLP, working with industry members and government officials across the country. I believe the state has done a good job under the circumstance we had to face.

The legislation signed into law this month seeks to close the gap and produce a more equitable and fair cannabis program. It reflects numerous proposals that were brought forward to address key concerns shared by lawmakers, regulators, advocates and industry members alike. Most notably, it addresses some critical issues involving host community agreements and social equity.

Read the full Worcester Telegram & Gazette article.

Register for VS's upcoming Massachusetts Regulatory Update webinar, featuring Jennifer Flanagan.

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