Sen. Flanagan resigning to join cannabis panel

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Lowell Sun By Amanda Burke 8/24/17

LEOMINSTER — Sen. Jennifer Flanagan of Leominster is expected to deliver her letter of resignation Thursday, one day after Gov. Charlie Baker announced the veteran Statehouse lawmaker as his appointment to the state’s newly formed Cannabis Control Commission.

Although Flanagan, a 41-year-old Democrat, voted against the ballot measure legalizing adult recreational marijuana use, she said her focus now will establishing rules governing the state’s newest industry.

“The people have spoken, just as they do on every ballot measure. … (W)e need to look forward not backwards,” Flanagan told the Sentinel & Enterprise Wednesday at her Leominster office. “It’s here, it was passed by the voters, so we need to address it. We need to do it responsibly in the way that’s right for Massachusetts.”

During her tenure in the Legislature, Flanagan focused on mental-health and substance-abuse issues. She said such experience is crucial for a regulator writing rules governing substances.

“Public health in general needs to be factored in,” she said. “I think it’s important that somebody with a mental health/substance use background be part of the conversation.”

Flanagan dismissed claims that her initial vote against legalization precludes her from regluating the industry, saying, “There’s going to be a lot of questions about me. I’ve taken a lot of votes. I’ve said a lot of things, but the reality is, the job at hand is to make sure we do this right.

 

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