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July 28, 2023

Cannabis Control Commission leader stepping down, amid vacancies and turmoil

Photo | Alexander MacDougall Cannabis Control Commission Executive Director Shawn Collins

The executive director of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, Shawn Collins, will vacate his role by the end of the year, exacerbating problems at the already under-fire state agency based in Worcester.

“We are in crisis right now as a commission,” CCC Chair Shannon O’Brien said during a Friday public meeting where she mentioned Collins’ planned departure.

Collins intended to announce in May he would be leaving at the end of the year, but O’Brien asked him not to announce it at that time, she said, because of vacant leadership positions. 

Collins was the first executive director of the CCC and is the only person to have served in that role since he began in 2017.

He was set to take his 10 weeks of family leave starting in September but will now begin it before the month of July concludes. He will leave for paternity leave starting Monday, O’Brien said he indicated to her. In the meeting, O’Brien expressed concerns about the timing of this leave as the commission faces regulatory review deadlines, indicating she believed he needed to give 30-days notice. She highlighted all employees are entitled to this 10-week leave.

Members of the commission expressed shock about the timing of the announcement. O’Brien changed the order of the meeting to make this information available to the commission. 

O’Brien said she wanted to have a chief people officer and general counsel in place before announcing his departure and seeking a new executive director in May, she said. O’Brien began putting out feelers for a replacement at that time.

On top of vacant leadership positions, the CCC has been under fire from business owners in the cannabis industry. On July 19, executives from testing facilities blasted the CCC about its regulations and enforcement during a public hearing on pending state legislation meant to create an audit unit within CCC. This came a year after the Massachusetts legislature passed a cannabis industry reform bill, designed to resolve long-running issues in the industry, including how host community agreements are developed and providing support to would-be cannabis business licensees from disadvantaged communities.

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1 Comments

Bill Fredericks
July 31, 2023

So, an employee uses the family leave act and the timing isnt convenient?? I dont remember that being a consideration for private companies like mine when they made the law. It forced employers like me to endure the same thing and be quiet about it because "its the law" . Funny when a former legislator occassionally experiences the plight of the "little people"

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