BOSTON – Today, State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg announced that former Massachusetts State Treasurer Shannon O’Brien will be the newly appointed Chair of the Cannabis Control Commission (Commission). Ms. O’Brien replaces Sarah Kim who served as interim Chair following the departure of Steven Hoffman. The swearing in will take place on Thursday, September 1st, which also marks the 5th anniversary of the Commission.
“I am grateful to Sarah Kim for her outstanding stewardship of the Commission during this transitional time. Her steady hand ensured that their important work continued smoothly,” said Treasurer Goldberg. “We are now excited to announce that former Treasurer Shannon O’Brien has been selected as the Commission’s new Chair. I am confident that her financial background, experience in corporate governance, executive management, and business development, combined with outstanding leadership skills and an acute knowledge of the legislative process, will help the Massachusetts cannabis industry be fairly regulated, equitable, and successful.”
“I am honored to serve as Treasurer Goldberg’s appointed Chair of the Cannabis Control Commission, and excited to return to state service in this important role,” said Shannon O’Brien. “I look forward to working with the other commissioners, agency staff and stakeholders to ensure that this industry is well regulated while enhancing economic benefits for the citizens of the Commonwealth. The industry has grown rapidly since the voters legalized recreational cannabis in 2016, topping $3 billion in sales this past spring. While the law was intended to create new economic opportunities for diverse communities and those previously harmed by harsh drug laws, this promise has not been fully achieved, leaving many aspiring equity entrepreneurs with a very challenging pathway to achieve the success that larger corporate interests have enjoyed. I am eager to get to work implementing some of the positive changes written into the recent reform law passed by the Legislature, including new access to capital for entrepreneurs, on site consumption, and enhanced oversight of Host Community Agreements.”
“As the Cannabis Control Commission marks and celebrates our fifth anniversary this week, I am excited to welcome Shannon O’Brien as Chair,” said Shawn Collins, Executive Director of the Cannabis Control Commission. "Chair O'Brien brings lifelong public service and business expertise to regulating Massachusetts' legal cannabis industry. I am grateful to Treasurer Goldberg for her appointment and look forward to continuing our important work of implementing a safe, equitable, and effective legal marketplace for patients and adult consumers throughout the Commonwealth. I also want to thank our Interim Chair, Sarah Kim, for her significant contributions to the agency during her time with us and wish her the best of luck going forward.”
Currently, Shannon O’Brien serves as the Chair of the Treasurer’s Massachusetts Baby Bonds Task Force, however she will no longer continue in this role.
The Cannabis Control Commission Chair is appointed by the State Treasurer and is required to have experience in corporate management, finance, or securities.
About Shannon O’Brien:
Shannon O’Brien is the former State Treasurer and Receiver General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A graduate of Yale University and Boston University School of Law, Shannon was first elected to the Massachusetts Legislature at age 27, serving in both the House and Senate. As Treasurer, Shannon led efforts to improve fiscal controls, accountability, and management, created a statewide financial literacy program and led improvements at the Lottery that resulted in an increase of $100 million of local aid to cities and towns. In 2002 she was the first woman nominated by a major political party for Governor of Massachusetts, ultimately losing a close race to Republican Governor Mitt Romney.
After leaving public service, Shannon worked as an Emmy nominated television journalist at Boston’s WB 56, followed by 3 years as CEO of the Girl Scouts of Greater Boston. From 2008-2010, New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli appointed Shannon to serve as Chair of the Pension Reform Commission, to enhance transparency and accountability within the fund after a highly publicized scandal forced DiNapoli’s predecessor to resign.
Shannon is the founder and principal of the O’Brien Advisory Group, providing strategic advice and business development services for cutting edge technology companies primarily in clean energy, health care, telecommunications, voting access and financial services.
About the Cannabis Control Commission:
Headquartered in Worcester, the Commission was established in 2017 to foster the creation of a safely regulated industry to effectively implement and administer the laws enabling access to medical and adult-use marijuana in the Commonwealth. Leadership for the Commission includes five commissioners and an executive leadership team. A 25-person Cannabis Advisory Board composed of ex officio members and appointments by the Treasurer, Governor, and Attorney General also studies and makes recommendations to the Commission regarding the regulation and taxation of marijuana in Massachusetts in accordance with state law.
About the Massachusetts State Treasury:
Under the leadership of Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, the Massachusetts State Treasury is comprised of 13 departments and agencies that serve the public through the Office of the State Treasurer and Receiver General. The Treasury is committed to embracing cutting-edge technology, implementing practical business strategies, and developing public-private partnerships to ensure economic stability, security, and opportunity for every Massachusetts resident. Treasurer Goldberg is the former President of the National Association of State Treasurers and is the Co-Chair of the National Institute of Public Finance. Visit MassTreasury.org to learn more and follow along on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.