State Rep. Chris Markey Makes Sense with Marijuana Bill [OPINION]
The fallout from the Fall River marijuana-related political corruption bust of Mayor Jasiel Correia continues. Rep. Chris Markey is defending the taxpayers with his bill.
The U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, Andrew Lelling, has charged Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia III with shaking down marijuana entrepreneurs for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes. These entrepreneurs wanted to legally sell recreational pot in Fall River and to do so they needed the sole permission of the mayor. The Justice Department alleges he illegally sold his permission for cash.
Now the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission is reviewing all the marijuana applications, more than a dozen, that have come across the desk of the twice-indicted-but-not-yet-convicted Mayor Correia.
The CCC has limited staff investigators and budget. Those resources have to be used to do the proper due diligence on all the marijuana businesses and applications for the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The whole marijuana industry faces a potential halt and certainly a long delay if the limited resources of the CCC are required to follow up on every scam the feds allege took place in Fall River. Or the taxpayers could be forced to pay for more staffers at the CCC.
Rep. Christopher Markey (D-Dartmouth/New Bedford) is the Chairman of the Massachusetts House Committee on Ethics and a former prosecutor in the Bristol County District Attorney's Office, which has jurisdiction over state crimes in Fall River.
According to Kim Kalunian of WPRI CH 12, Rep. Markey has "drafted a bill that voids all marijuana businesses that were not granted a provisional or final license by the state’s Cannabis Control Commission as of Sept. 6. The bill also proposes that no new license applications for dispensaries trying to come to the city could be accepted or considered by the commission until Jan. 15, 2020."
Click here to read the full contents of the bill.
Rep. Markey is doing the taxpayers justice with his bill. He is looking out for all the other cities and towns in Massachusetts that have been doing the right thing as the legal marijuana businesses come to the market. Fall River doesn't get to consume all of the CCC's budget at the detriment of the rest of the state and the taxpayers.
Markey is going to get some heat for taking this stand. He can handle it. If Fall River had elected a man like former prosecutor Chris Markey they wouldn't be in this situation. Elections have consequences.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.