In his first public comments since being tabbed to chair the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, Steven Hoffman admitted that he believes prohibition has failed – and that he smoked a joint while visiting Breckenridge, Colorado, the Boston Globe reports. Moreover, he indicated he was committed to supporting the retail program approved by voters last November.
“Addiction to, and misuse of, harder drugs than marijuana is a big problem,” Hoffman, the former Bain & Co. partner said in the report. “But clearly what we’ve been doing as a country for the past 40 years hasn’t helped. I’m not sure I have a magic solution, but there’s a logic that, if you prohibit something that’s desired by people and is relatively harmless, all it does is create illicit trade.”
During the Globe interview, he admitted he had voted against the ballot initiative because he “thought a slower and more studious approach would be better” but stopped short of promising that the industry would be in place by July. He did pledge to run the commission in an “open and honest” fashion.
“I’m a realist, and if the reality is it can’t be done, it can’t be done,” he said, adding that while in Colorado he noticed that the cannabis businesses there are “professionally run, profitable…(and) an asset to communities.”
Valerio Romano, an attorney who represents cannabis businesses, said Hoffman “does not seem like the guy he did when [advocates] got his resume.”
“He’s not one of these ‘Reefer Madness’ people,” Romano told the Globe. “He seems like a far more progressive, thoughtful person — like somebody I could work with.”