Massachusetts voters in 2016 voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana over the objections of Attorney General Maura Healey. Six years later, as a candidate for governor, Healey doesn't regret her position.
"I wouldn't say that I regret it, Jim," she told Greater Boston host Jim Braude Wednesday night.
Healey said that during the ballot question campaign she was very concerned about the effects of the proposal on young people with respect to use, addiction and mental health. Was she wrong, Braude asked. "I think I'll leave that for others to judge," Healey said.
The attorney general claimed she has worked since the law's passage to make appointees to the Cannabis Control Commission who are "social justice advocates." The AG gets to name someone to fill the CCC's public safety seat and Healey's initial appointee, Britte McBride, has since been succeeded by Ava Callender Concepcion.
"One of the reasons if you look back in terms of supporting legalization was to try to have this be something that would redound to the benefit of communities that had for far too long been ravaged by things like the ill-guided war on drugs," Healey said.
Delving into the industry's growth, Healey said, "I just want to make sure that everybody is able to share in the benefits and the gains of that industry. And I think we still have more work to do when it comes to the social justice issues that were in fact driving a lot of proponents of that law."
The industry's rollout has come with criticism that there are too few opportunities for the communities hit hardest by the War on Drugs, that cities and towns are abusing their authority to demand industry concessions in host community agreements, and that regulators and the Legislature have been too slow to integrate delivery licenses and social consumption sites, or marijuana cafes, as envisioned under the voter law.
The attorney general also gets a say on the appointments of two other CCC members. The governor, AG and treasurer jointly appoint people to fill the commission's seats for someone with experience in oversight or management of regulated industries (Bruce Stebbins) and someone who has a background in legal, policy or social justice issues related to a regulated industry (Nurys Camargo).