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Mayor Marty Walsh appoints a five-member cannabis board

Appointees will work to advance equity, diversity and opportunity in the cannabis industry, and represent a diverse range of expertise.  See Press Release below!

BOSTON – Wednesday, March 4, 2020 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced five appointments to Boston’s newly-created Cannabis Board, which will strengthen the City’s focus on equity in the new marijuana industry.

“The purpose of Boston’s Cannabis Board is to make sure our actions continue to match our values: supporting equity, diversity and local ownership in this new industry,” said Mayor Walsh. “I’m proud to appoint these exceptional members to the Cannabis Board as we work to ensure every resident has access to the same opportunities in our growing city.” 

In November, Mayor Walsh in partnership with Councilor Kim Janey and the Boston City Council signed An Ordinance Establishing Equitable Regulation of the Cannabis Industry in the City of Boston, the result of collaboration from many stakeholders. The ordinance ensures Boston is a model for how to create a system that fosters racial equity and inclusion in the new marijuana industry, and brings the benefit of this industry to all of Boston’s communities.

As part of the ordinance, Mayor Walsh has established a Boston Cannabis Board, an independent board charged with reviewing all applicants for a marijuana license. Mayor Walsh’s appointments to this post consist of members whose experience includes working in public health policy; creating economic development strategies and minority business development strategies within under-resourced communities; experience working in public safety; and experience with the City’s licensing and regulation of businesses.

“I am excited by the appointment of the Boston Cannabis Board today. This board is so important to our City as it will bring a new, transparent and public facing process, focused on equity, for creating Host Community Agreements in Boston,” said Council President Janey.

The Walsh Administration has prioritized equity since the beginning of this new industry, and has approved 14 host community agreements in 10 different neighborhoods with marijuana businesses seeking to open in the City of Boston, which includes three state-certified empowerment candidates. Boston was the first city in the state to sign an agreement with an economic empowerment state-approved applicant, representing the city’s national leadership in creating racial diversity in the cannabis industry. Pure Oasis is Massachusetts’ first Economic Empowerment Candidate, and is in the final stages of opening their business.

Mayor Walsh has appointed five members to this board:

Kathleen Joyce, Chair
Kathleen Joyce is the Chair of the Licensing Board for the City of Boston, and was appointed in October 2018. As Chairwoman, Joyce serves as the lead commissioner in regulating licenses pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapters 138 and 140, and the Rules of the Board. Prior to joining the Licensing Board for the City of Boston, Joyce worked as Senior Counsel at the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA), the urban planning and economic development agency for the City of Boston. In her role as Senior Counsel, Joyce provided legal support and counsel on real estate, government and policy matters.

Prior to joining the BPDA in 2014, Joyce spent nearly seven years working at the Boston Bar Association, a 10,000 member nonprofit organization, as the Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs, where she worked with organization’s leadership teams to advance and coordinate policy positions to promote justice and improve access to the legal system in Massachusetts.

Through her former roles, Joyce has accumulated extensive experience cultivating relationships with and convening various stakeholders to identify areas of common interest and consensus. These stakeholders include legal experts, city, state and federal leaders, and members of the judiciary. She lives in Dorchester and graduated from the College of the Holy Cross and Suffolk University Law School. Joyce will serve as the Chair of the Cannabis Board.

Monica Valdes Lupi
Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH, is the former health commissioner for the City of Boston, and a Senior Fellow at the de Beaumont Foundation. Valdes Lupe has over 20 years of experience in public health, and in her work at the Foundation, helps to advance policy, build partnerships, and strengthen the public health workforce to create communities where people can achieve their best possible health. In her role as Senior Fellow, Valdes Lupi serves in an advisory and leadership role for the Foundation’s efforts to develop and advance a health agenda on critical public health issues, such as tobacco control and e-cigarette flavors, racial justice, and health equity.

As executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, the local health department for the City of Boston, Valdes Lupi led one of the largest city departments with more than 1,300 employees and a portfolio that included Boston Emergency Medical Services, the largest homeless services program in New England, school-based health centers, and other critical public health services. In addition to leading the health department, she also served as the deputy commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, where she led the day-to-day operations for an agency that included public health hospitals, several regulatory bodies, and numerous public health programs. She also has experience working at the national level as the first Chief Program Officer for Health Systems Transformation at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO).

Valdes Lupi earned her BA from Bryn Mawr College, her MPH from the Boston University School of Public Health, and her JD from the Dickinson School of Law/Penn State University. Valdes Lupi lives in West Roxbury.

Darlene Lombos 
Darlene Lombos is the first woman and person of color elected to lead the Greater Boston Labor Council, which represents nearly 100,000 workers. Her elevation to this role was the result of a unanimous vote by delegates representing 160 different unions that span various industries and sectors, such as construction, hospitality, transportation, health care and education.

She is the former Executive Director of Community Labor United, a nonprofit organization that combines the power of community-based organizations and labor unions to advance the interests of low- and middle-income working families in Massachusetts by promoting quality jobs, secure healthcare, affordable housing, and climate justice. Lombos has 20 years of experience in community and youth organizing, leadership development and coalition development.

Lombos has been organizing around various community issues since 1996, including police accountability and home daycare justice at Direct Action for Rights and Equality in Providence, RI, as well as transportation equity, gentrification and displacement, and education reform at Sisters in Action for Power in Portland, Oregon. Her experience includes community and youth organizing, leadership development and coalition-building.

Lombos lives in Roxbury.

Lisa Holmes
Lisa Holmes served as a Boston Police Department (BPD) Superintendent, and has over 30 years of experience in public safety. Holmes was one of the first members of the BPD Gang Unit in 1990s, and worked as a detective on some of the Department’s toughest, most demanding cases in the Sexual Assault, Homicide, and Human Trafficking units.

During her last five years as a Superintendent, Holmes worked in the Bureau of Professional Development, and was the first the first African-American woman to head the department’s police academy developing training for recruits and officers. In her work, Holmes strengthened the Department’s community policing-based training, instituted a new course for recruits on policing outside of personal biases, and launched dialogues to connect young residents with officers.

Lisa earned her Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Curry College, a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Northeastern University and a Graduate Certificate in Public Safety Leadership and Management from Suffolk University’s Moakley Center for Public Management.  In 2018, Holmes was presented with the Alfreda Harris Award for Exceptional Community Service. She lives in Dorchester.

John Smith
John Smith brings extensive experience in nonprofit, government, education and advocacy fields to TSNE MissionWorks where he serves as Director of Programs. He has also served as the Policy Analyst in the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development for the City of Boston, where he managed major economic development policy initiatives. Before his government experience, Smith also worked at the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston, the Hyams Foundation’s Youth Policy Initiative, the Tennessee Department of Health, and at several universities managing service learning and other student-centered programs.

Smith holds a Masters in Public Policy from Tufts University. He is originally from Trinidad and he resides in Dorchester.

To learn about the process involved in setting up a marijuana business in the City of Boston and the City’s ordinance, please visit here! 

Pure Oasis – a cannabis shop – will be open soon in the neighborhood.

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and Caught in Dot and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Hockey mom, yoga enthusiast, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.