April 20, 2018

Cannabis Control Commission hires research director

Courtesy Photo
The Massachusetts State House.

When the Legislature re-wrote the marijuana law last summer, lawmakers pointed to provisions that mandate the Cannabis Control Commission to conduct extensive research on the use of marijuana and how legalization affects society. With legal sales expected to begin in less than three months, the CCC now has someone to direct that research agenda.

Julie Johnson started Tuesday as the CCC's director of research, a job in which she will lead the marijuana agency's efforts to "understand the social and economic trends of marijuana in the commonwealth, to inform future decisions that would aid in the closure of the illicit marketplace and to inform the commission on the public health impacts of marijuana."

Most recently, Johnson was a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and previously was a fellow at the Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, and worked at the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research at Boston Children's Hospital.

State law requires the CCC to study "patterns of use, methods of consumption, sources of purchase and general perceptions of marijuana among minors, among college and university students and among adults; incidents of impaired driving, hospitalization and use of other health care services related to marijuana use" and "report on the financial impacts on the state healthcare system of hospitalizations related to marijuana; economic and fiscal impacts for state and local governments including the impact of legalization on the production and distribution of marijuana in the illicit market and the costs and benefits to state and local revenue; ownership and employment trends in the marijuana industry examining participation by racial, ethnic and socioeconomic subgroups" and more.

The CCC also announced Wednesday that it has hired Andrew Carter, a graduate of Northeastern University and Suffolk Law, as its legal assistant. Carter most recently worked as a compliance coordinator for the city of Newton.

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