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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 76: Cannabis control commission; members; appointment; terms; removal; quorum; salary; officers; code of ethics; operation as state agency

Section 76. (a) There shall be a Massachusetts cannabis control commission which shall consist of 5 commissioners: 1 of whom shall be appointed by the governor and shall have a background in public health, mental health, substance use or toxicology; 1 of whom shall be appointed by the attorney general and shall have a background in public safety; 1 of whom shall be appointed by the treasurer and receiver-general and shall have experience in corporate management, finance or securities; and 2 of whom shall be appointed by a majority vote of the governor, attorney general and treasurer and receiver-general, 1 of whom shall have professional experience in oversight or industry management, including commodities, production or distribution in a regulated industry and 1 of whom shall have a background in legal, policy or social justice issues related to a regulated industry. The treasurer and receiver-general shall designate the chair of the commission. The chair shall serve in that capacity throughout the term of appointment and until a successor shall be appointed. Prior to appointment to the commission, a background investigation shall be conducted into the financial stability, integrity and responsibility of a candidate, including the candidate's reputation for good character, and honesty. No person who has been convicted of a felony shall be eligible to serve on the commission.

(b) Each commissioner shall be a resident of the commonwealth within 90 days of appointment and, while serving on the commission, shall not: (i) hold, or be a candidate for, federal, state or local elected office; (ii) hold an appointed office in a federal, state or local government; or (iii) serve as an official in a political party. Not more than 3 commissioners shall be from the same political party.

(c) Each commissioner shall serve for a term of 5 years or until a successor is appointed and shall be eligible for reappointment; provided, however, that no commissioner shall serve more than 10 years. A person appointed to fill a vacancy in the office of a commissioner shall be appointed in a like manner and shall serve for only the unexpired term of that commissioner.

(d) The treasurer and receiver-general, the governor or the attorney general may remove a commissioner who was appointed by that appointing authority if the commissioner: (i) is guilty of malfeasance in office; (ii) substantially neglects the duties of a commissioner; (iii) is unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office; (iv) commits gross misconduct; or (v) is convicted of a felony. The treasurer and receiver-general, the governor and the attorney general may, by majority vote, remove a commissioner who was appointed by majority vote of the state treasurer, the governor and the attorney general if the commissioner: (1) is guilty of malfeasance in office; (2) substantially neglects the duties of a commissioner; (3) is unable to discharge the powers and duties of the commissioner's office; (4) commits gross misconduct; or (5) is convicted of a felony. Before removal, the commissioner shall be provided with a written statement of the reason for removal and an opportunity to be heard.

(e) Three commissioners shall constitute a quorum and the affirmative vote of 3 commissioners shall be required for an action of the commission. The chair or 3 members of the commission may call a meeting; provided, however, that notice of all meetings shall be given to each commissioner and to other persons who request such notice. The commission shall adopt regulations establishing procedures, which may include electronic communications, by which a request to receive notice shall be made and the method by which timely notice may be given.

(f) Commissioners shall receive salaries not greater than 3/4 of the salary of the secretary of administration and finance under section 4 of chapter 7; provided, however, that the chair shall receive a salary equal to the salary of the secretary of administration and finance. Commissioners shall devote their full time and attention to the duties of their office.

(g) The commission shall annually elect 1 of its members to serve as secretary and 1 of its members to serve as treasurer. The secretary shall keep a record of the proceedings of the commission and shall be the custodian and keeper of the records of all books, documents and papers filed by the commission and of its minute book. The secretary shall cause copies to be made of all minutes and other records and documents of the commission and shall certify that such copies are true copies and all persons dealing with the commission may rely upon such certification.

(h) The chair shall have and exercise supervision and control over all the affairs of the commission. The chair shall preside at all hearings at which the chair is present and shall designate a commissioner to act as chair in the chair's absence. To promote efficiency in administration, the chair shall make such division or re-division of the work of the commission among the commissioners as the chair deems expedient.

(i) The commissioners shall, if so directed by the chair, participate in the hearing and decision of any matter before the commission; provided, however, that at least 2 commissioners shall participate in the hearing and decision of matters other than those of formal or administrative character coming before the commission; and provided further, that any such matter may be heard, examined and investigated by an employee of the commission designated and assigned by the chair, with the concurrence of 1 other commissioner. Such employee shall make a report in writing relative to the hearing, examination and investigation of every such matter to the commission for its decision. For the purposes of hearing, examining and investigating any such matter, such employee shall have all of the powers conferred upon a commissioner by this section. For each hearing, the concurrence of a majority of the commissioners participating in the decision shall be necessary.

(j) The commission shall appoint an executive director. The executive director shall serve at the pleasure of the commission, shall receive such salary as may be determined by the commission, and shall devote full time and attention to the duties of the office. The executive director shall be a person with skill and experience in management, shall be the executive and administrative head of the commission and shall be responsible for administering and enforcing the law relative to the commission and to each administrative unit thereof. The executive director shall appoint and employ a chief financial and accounting officer and may, subject to the approval of the commission, employ other employees, consultants, agents and advisors, including legal counsel, and shall attend meetings of the commission. The chief financial and accounting officer of the commission shall be in charge of its funds, books of account and accounting records. No funds shall be transferred by the commission without the approval of the commission and the signatures of the chief financial and accounting officer and the treasurer of the commission. In the case of an absence or vacancy in the office of the executive director or in the case of disability as determined by the commission, the commission may designate an acting executive director to serve as executive director until the vacancy is filled or the absence or disability ceases. The acting executive director shall have all of the powers and duties of the executive director and shall have similar qualifications as the executive director.

(k) Chapters 268A and 268B shall apply to the commissioners and to employees of the commission; provided, however, that the commission shall establish a code of ethics for all members and employees that shall be more restrictive than said chapters 268A and 268B. A copy of the code shall be filed with the state ethics commission. The code shall include provisions reasonably necessary to carry out the purposes of this section and any other laws subject to the jurisdiction of the commission including, but not limited to: (i) prohibiting the receipt of gifts by commissioners and employees from any marijuana licensee, applicant, close associate, affiliate or other person or entity subject to the jurisdiction of the commission; (ii) prohibiting the participation by commissioners and employees in a particular matter as defined in section 1 of said chapter 268A that affects the financial interest of a relative within the third degree of consanguinity or a person with whom such commissioner or employee has a significant relationship as defined in the code; and (iii) providing for recusal of a commissioner in a licensing decision due to a potential conflict of interest.

(l) The Massachusetts cannabis control commission shall be a commission for the purposes of section 3 of chapter 12.

(m) The commission shall, for the purposes of compliance with state finance law, operate as a state agency as defined in section 1 of chapter 29 and shall be subject to the laws applicable to agencies under the control of the governor; provided, however, that the comptroller may identify any additional instructions or actions necessary for the department to manage fiscal operations in the state accounting system and meet statewide and other governmental accounting and audit standards. The commission shall properly classify the commission's operating and capital expenditures, and shall not include any salaries of employees in the commission's capital expenditures. Unless otherwise exempted by law or the applicable central service agency, the commission shall participate in any other available commonwealth central services including, but not limited to, the state payroll system pursuant to section 31 of said chapter 29, and may purchase other goods and services provided by state agencies in accordance with comptroller provisions. The comptroller may chargeback the commission for the transition and ongoing costs for participation in the state accounting and payroll systems and may retain and expend such costs without further appropriation for the purposes of this section. The commission shall be subject to section 5D and subsection (f) of section 6B of said chapter 29.