Responding to the new mandate from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that U.S. state prosecutors enforce federal cannabis laws in states where marijuana is legal, Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling has stated his office will focus on bulk traffickers and criminal gangs, not organizations working within state, voter-approved regulations.
“This office will pursue federal marijuana crimes as part of its overall approach to reducing violent crime, stemming the tide of the drug crisis, and dismantling criminal gangs, and in particular the threat posed by bulk trafficking of marijuana, which has had a devastating impact on local communities,” Mr. Lelling said in a statement.
Geoff Rose, CEO of Patient Centric of Martha’s Vineyard, the only licensed medical dispensary on the Island, sees Mr. Lelling’s stance in a positive light. “If we look at how Massachusetts has dealt with this issue, it says those of us who are working prudently within the system can move forward,” he said.
Patient Centric of M.V. has all necessary cultivation and dispensary permits from the state. It now awaits building permit approval from the West Tisbury planning board.
At the state level, the Cannabis Control Commision is moving forward as planned. “The role of the Cannabis Control Commission remains the same — to fulfill the will of the voters of Massachusetts by implementing and administering a regulatory process that is safe, equitable, and efficient,” the commission said in a press release Thursday. “Our priority has always been to protect public safety and develop regulations that are compliant with all laws, including those passed by the voters and the legislature legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in the Commonwealth.”