Rosenberg delights in inadvertent joint joke

Senate President explains Cheech and Chong look


SENATE PRESIDENT STANLEY ROSENBERG was trying to make a point Tuesday about the futility of taking legislative action on recreational marijuana when he got hung up on the word joint in joint committees.

“There’s no point. No point in taking it up. First of all, it’s in the joint committees,” the Amherst Democrat said, pausing as the dual meaning of the word settled in. “That’s really funny. I didn’t try to be funny. They are called joint committees,” Rosenberg said between giggles.

The exchange took place in the old document room, which has been converted into a Senate meeting room, where Rosenberg called reporters to a briefing on the Senate’s accomplishments and upcoming business.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Attorney General Maura Healey, and Gov. Charlie Baker have said they oppose legalizing marijuana, while Rosenberg, who disfavors the ballot referendum process, had previously suggested a non-binding ballot question to gauge where voters stand. Rosenberg has also established a special marijuana committee.

At times overtaken by laughter and at times joined in his mirth by reporters, Rosenberg explained the committee process. The House’s numbers give that branch more sway over committee action than the Senate, a dynamic Rosenberg has attempted to shift during his first 10 months in office.

“Does it involve rolling papers or anything like that?” a reporter inquired about Joint Rule 10 Day – the technical jargon for the joint committee deadline for reporting out bills, which is March 16.

“It does involve papers. And some of them are papers to the House and some of them are papers to the Senate,” Rosenberg replied, using other technical terms for aspects of the legislative process.

The Senate president injected humor into the beginning of the exchange, asking, “What about it? You looking for some?” when a reporter first brought up recreational marijuana use.

The briefing ended on a pot-themed note, too, as Rosenberg, explaining his stubbly November mustache, said he “was trying to get the Omar Sharif, and I messed it up, and I got something like the Cheech and Chong look.”