Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has named Democratic state Sen. Jennifer Flanagan of Leominster to the board that will regulate legal marijuana in Massachusetts.
Photo Gallery | State Senator Jennifer Flanagan Through the Years
BOSTON — Sen. Jennifer Flanagan of Leominster will resign her seat effective Aug. 31 to become Gov. Charlie Baker’s appointee to the state’s Cannabis Control Commission, the governor announced Wednesday.
“As a member of the Legislature, Senator Flanagan has been a champion and important partner with us on bipartisan efforts to enact comprehensive legislation around substance use prevention, treatment and recovery,” said Baker.
Flanagan said of the announcement: “I am honored to have been chosen as Governor Baker’s appointee to the Cannabis Control Commission and I am grateful for the trust he has placed in me,” said the Leominster Democrat in the statement. “I look forward to serving on the commission as Massachusetts moves forward in responsibly regulating this new industry.
“The Act to Ensure Safe Access to Marijuana, signed by Baker on July 28, calls for a five-member Cannabis Control Commission appointed by the governor, the treasurer and attorney general, with the treasurer designating the chair of the panel.
According to the law, commissioners are paid about $120,000, three-fourths annual salary of the secretary of Administration and Finance, which is currently at $161,000. The commission chair receives a salary equal to the Administration and Finance secretary.
According to the marijuana-access law, the governor must appoint a member that has a background in public health. Flanagan earned a master’s degree in mental health counseling from Fitchburg State University and has been instrumental in crafting legislation to address the opioid epidemic.
In the Senate she is chair of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee; Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities Committee; and the Special Senate Committee on Opioids, which helped craft legislation to tackle the state’s opioid crisis.
“Her experience and service will be invaluable to the Cannabis Control Commission and to the people of Massachusetts as the Commission, our administration, the Treasurer, Attorney General, lawmakers, educators and public health and safety professionals work together to ensure the effective, responsible and safe implementation of the adult use of marijuana in the Commonwealth,” said Baker in the statement.
Flanagan’s appointment is the first of the five that must be named by Aug. 31 by the Attorney General Maura Healey, state Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and Baker.
Healey is responsible for appointing a member with a background in public safety, while Goldberg must choose a member that has experience in corporate management, finance and securities.
The two additional CCC members will be appointed by a majority vote of the governor, attorney general and treasurer. Of those two, according to the statute, one will have professional experience in oversight or industry management, including commodities, production or distribution in a regulated industry and the other one will have a background in legal, policy or social justice issues related to a regulated industry.
Baker, Goldberg and Healey have already made five appointments each to the Cannabis Advisory Board, which will make recommendations to the commission.
Under the law, commission members serve five-year terms and may be reappointed to a second term but may not serve more than 10 years.
Flanagan, a Democrat, has worked at the Statehouse since the mid-1990s and has served in the Legislature for 13 years. She was elected to the House representing Leominster in 2004 and served two terms before being elected to the Senate in the Worcester and Middlesex District in 2008.
Before being elected to the Legislature, she was an aide for state Rep. Mary Jane Simmons.
Flanagan also earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from UMass Boston.
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