Mass Cannabis Companies Launch Responsible Regulation Commission

Seeds of Cannabis or hemp with essential oil in bottle on timber surface

Responsible oversight of the legal cannabis industry is a win-win for all involved: producer, consumer and government regulator. It’s a balance between protecting public health while also allowing the industry room to grow and prosper.

So believes a newly formed coalition of Massachusetts cannabis companies that launched a nonprofit last week that will work to advance responsible regulation of the cannabis industry in the Commonwealth. The Responsible Regulation Alliance (RRA) will work with individuals well-versed in state-based cannabis regulation to produce memos and offer insight throughout the remainder of the rule-making process.

RRA is launching with the support and active participation of four Massachusetts companies committed to the advancement of sensible regulations: Coastal Compassion, Massachusetts Patient Foundation, Mayflower Medicinals, and Natural Selections.

The day-to-day work of RRA will be coordinated by two firms retained by the organization: Beacon Strategies Group (BSG) and VS Strategies. BSG is a Boston-based public affairs and government relations firm that has been working in the cannabis field since the Commonwealth passed Question 3, which granted patients access to medical marijuana. VS Strategies is a lobbying and public relations firm based in Denver, whose principals have collectively spent decades enacting and shaping cannabis laws and regulations. RRA will also receive valuable insight and guidance from the Massachusetts office of the Vicente Sederberg law firm.

“We expect RRA will be a valuable contributor during the rule-making process,” says Steve Byrne, Vice President at BSG. “RRA’s mission is to provide the Commission with as much information and insight as possible so that it can craft optimal regulations. The final regulations should balance the interests of protecting public health with the goal of allowing industry players to operate in an efficient manner. Such a balance is achievable but it is critical to learn from the experiences of actors in other states.”

The VS Strategies team, which will take the lead in crafting the memos that will be made available to the Commission, has worked extensively on state-level cannabis regulations, often producing specific recommendations for policymakers.

In 2016, members of the VS Strategies team co-authored a 90-page document on behalf of another nonprofit, the Council on Responsible Cannabis Regulation, entitled, “Cannabis Packaging and Labeling: Regulatory Recommendations for States and Nations.”

“This document exemplifies the type of recommendations RRA will make available to the Commission,” the organization says.