Pot boss still won’t say why she didn’t disclose weed business ties to public | Turn 420
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Pot boss still won’t say why she didn’t disclose weed business ties to public



The state’s new cannabis commission chair still isn’t saying why she and the body she leads did not publicly disclose her ties to the marijuana business before she took over the group regulating the industry.

“I disclosed all this to the treasurer, I talked to the folks at ethics, because I have no ownership or control, I have no conflict,” Cannabis Control Commission Chair Shannon O’Brien said. “But out of an abundance of caution, anything to do with any group that I’ve worked with, I will recuse myself in the future.”

O’Brien joined WCVB’s Janet Wu and Ed Harding Sunday for the politics talk show, On the Record, where she attempted to explain recent revelations that, before she took control of the state’s Cannabis Control Commission on September 1, she had herself been an owner and advisor at a pair of marijuana cultivation facilities.

O’Brien is listed on an application filed with the cannabis commission in 2020 by Greenfield Greenery LLC, as an “Owner/Partner” in a proposal to open an outdoor growing operation occupying upwards of 100,000 square feet.

A second application, by Charlemont FarmWorks LLC, lists O’Brien under a section titled “Our Team,” as an adviser, noting her role as the former state treasurer and as a former state senator.

The commission’s new chair never publicly disclosed this involvement and it wasn’t widely known until a Boston Herald article published those facts last week. Both facilities are currently working under provisional licenses.

A spokesperson for the commission said last week and O’Brien said again Sunday she has since separated from the Greenfield cultivation business where she was listed as owner and CEO, but that the process would not be complete until the business files the right paperwork and it goes through the commission.

“I signed an agreement giving up all equity, ownership and control,” she said.

Further, O’Brien told the hosts, her involvement in the business side of things before she joined the regulatory body is a feature of her employment, not a bug.

“I have been on the other side of things, I’ve been an applicant, it’s a complex process, it’s difficult to raise money, because it’s not legal on the national level,” she said. “So I’m hoping that I bring a little bit of understanding to these entrepreneurs, but in particular understanding the problem that equity candidates have.”

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