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Interim Cannabis Commission chair wants 'safe, equitable industry' in Massachusetts

Marijuana for sale at INSA in Easthampton, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen
Marijuana for sale at INSA in Easthampton, Massachusetts.

Sarah Kim, the interim chair of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, said she is thankful to be entrusted with this responsibility. Kim is a deputy treasurer and general counsel in the state's treasurer's office and was sworn in on Monday,

"I am so thrilled to be part of this agency’s work, to ensure a safe and equitable industry even if it is for a short period of time," she said, during the commission's monthly meeting held Thursday.

Kim also thanked former chair Steven Hoffman, who resigned at the end of April with no public notice, about four months before the end of his five-year term. She said Hoffman set the foundation for a very successful industry.

Several members of the commission noted all of the original commissioners from the first years of legal cannabis have departed.

Commissioner Nurys Camargo said she looks forward to the next phase of the industry.

"We can do more. And we should do more when it comes to righting the wrongs related to this industry," Camargo said.

Camargo called on lawmakers to create a social equity fund, repair the host community agreement process and allow for social consumption of marijuana.

The state senate unanimously passed a bill in April that addressed these issues. A similar bill would still have to be passed by the House and then signed by the governor.

At the meeting commissioners also discussed new applications for cannabis licenses.

Kim will lead the commission while the state treasurer's office completes a search for a new chair. The office is looking for someone with experience in corporate management, finance or securities.

Nancy Eve Cohen is a senior reporter focusing on Berkshire County. Earlier in her career she was NPR’s Midwest editor in Washington, D.C., managing editor of the Northeast Environmental Hub and recorded sound for TV networks on global assignments, including the war in Sarajevo and an interview with Fidel Castro.

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