Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commissioner Kay Doyle is to step down next month in order to work in the private sector.

Doyle began a three-year term in September 2017 after completing a stint as primary counsel to the state’s medical marijuana program. She led the drafting of Massachusetts’ first adult-used cannabis regulations and chaired the Energy and Environment Workgroup as it sought to set groundbreaking standards for cannabis cultivation. “I am sad to leave, but very excited about the work I will be doing in the future, and I am confident that the Commission will continue to regulate adult use and medical use of cannabis in a manner that focuses on public health, safety, equity, and sustainability,” said Doyle.

She graduated from Boston University School of Law in 1996 and worked as an Attorney before becoming Deputy General Counsel for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in 2013. Colleagues praised her work ethic, intelligence and foresight during her time at the CCC, and said her regulatory experience has been invaluable.

The Commission is currently caught in the crossfire after Gov. Charlie Baker ordered all recreational marijuana stores to close during the coronavirus lockdown. Medical marijuana dispensaries were allowed to remain open, as were liquor stores, after they were both deemed “essential”.


Cannabis stores were ordered to close as Baker said they attract too many out of state shoppers, which risks spreading the virus. Dispensary owners have filed a lawsuit against Baker, lawmakers have pressured him to reverse the decision and military veterans are campaigning for a reversal of his decision, but Baker said reopening adult-use marijuana stores during the lockdown is a non-starter.

Cannabis advocates have now asked political leaders to request an advisory opinion from Attorney General Maura Healey on Baker’s decision. They say the situation is devastating for the business owners. They have little cash flow, so they may fold.

Vets say they are reluctant to sign up for medical marijuana cards because cannabis is illegal at a federal level and they fear losing their benefits. They rely on adult-use purchases, and argue that the decision has jeopardized their health.

However, medical marijuana patient registrations have surged across the state since Baker’s order, and recreational dispensaries are now permitted to sell inventory to medical marijuana dispensaries.

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