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Cannibis commission talks about talking to US prosecutor



State House News Service
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Cannabis Control Commission has still not reached out to the U.S. prosecutor whose stance on federal marijuana law enforcement has shaken the nascent cannabis industry and is trying to determine whether it should at all.

Making a connection between the commission and the U.S. attorney’s office would not be difficult. The CCC’s offices at 101 Federal St. are just across the Fort Point Channel from top prosecutor Andrew Lelling’s home base at the federal courthouse in the Seaport. Walking between the two offices would take about 15 minutes and commission members could bump into the prosecutor or members of his team at any of the lunch spots between their domains.

Lelling, the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, earlier this month said he will not rule out bringing federal charges against state-legal marijuana businesses now that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded an Obama-era policy that allowed states to establish their own legal marijuana markets.

“No, we have not,” CCC Chairman Steven Hoffman said Wednesday when asked if the commission has sought to make contact with Lelling, repeating a statement he made a week ago. “We’re talking about it ... We’re talking about it amongst ourselves but we have no plans at this point.”

Lelling’s curveball drove most of the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries back to cash-only operations, spurred state leaders who opposed marijuana legalization to publicly back the growing pot program, and threw a major new consideration into the mix for businesses and entrepreneurs looking to break into the newly legal industry.

Hoffman and the CCC have pledged to continue their work of erecting a regulatory framework to shift what had been an illicit business into the legal mainstream despite what Sessions and Lelling have said.

Asked Wednesday if he would like to reach out to Lelling, Hoffman said he does not have “an informed opinion” and said he is deferring to other commissioners who “know a lot more about the office and the structure of the office.”