Not your father’s weed

Did you hear? Legal marijuana for adult recreational use is coming to Massachusetts. It may be soon, it may be later, but make no mistake, it’s on its way.

But what will the landscape look like? What are some of the things that potential distributors need to know? Like any other industry, despite the product being peddled, it will be a business and, by all accounts, a booming business here in the Bay State.

Scott Moskol, a partner at the venerable Boston law firm Burns & Levinson, is somewhat of an expert in the field of legal marijuana, which should say something about where we are with the evolution of marijuana acceptance. Burns & Levinson, one of the city’s most high-profile law firms, has jumped into the pool with both feet, developing a Medical Marijuana Business Law practice, of which Moskol is the co-chair. And when the framework for commercial pot gets worked out on Beacon Hill, Burns & Levinson will be well-positioned to take on clients in that arena, too.

Moskol, who joined The Codcast to talk about the budding industry, has been traveling around the country and become familiar with the laws of the 29 states that have legalized some form of medical marijuana and is boning up on the laws in the seven states that have legalized commercial pot.

Many worry that the change in administration, especially with the nomination of well-known marijuana opponent Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general, will put the legal marijuana movement on thin ice. But Moskol said he’s confident nothing will happen in the first year or more of the administration, if at all, because of the strong “states’ rights” stances of Sessions and President-elect Donald Trump as well as Trump’s background as a businessman and the developing commercial industry of marijuana.

But Moskol acknowledged there is still the conflict between states legalizing marijuana and the federal classification of pot as an illegal Schedule 1 drug, which hampers everything from transport to banking.

Moskol says the biggest change he sees is who is becoming involved in the industry. At last year’s annual Marijuana Business Conference & Expo, the oldest cannabis trade show in the country, Moskol said tie-dye and smoke clouds were more prevalent than business suits. At this year’s fall convention, from which he just returned, he said it “looked like a banking convention,” with Wall Street investors and lawyers dominating the attendees.




House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg strike a deal on rules to govern legislative action. (CommonWealth)

The head of the group that successfully pushed the ballot question to legalize adult use of marijuana said he wouldn’t oppose all attempts by the Legislature to change the law but wouldn’t say what proponents would agree to. (Greater Boston)

Senate President Stan Rosenberg wants to fund initial regulatory costs of overseeing the marijuana industry with state reserves and pay it back once pot proceeds start coming in, but other state officials are cool to the idea. (Boston Globe)


Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll and Police Chief Mary Butler are skeptical of sanctuary city proposal. (Salem News)

The Brockton Law Department has asked the City Council for additional funding for anticipated lawsuits and settlements, a request councilors balked at approving. (The Enterprise)

Dighton selectmen suspended the town’s fire chief indefinitely without pay after learning he purchased women’s workout clothes using his publicly funded clothing allowance then lied about it when submitting the receipt. (Herald News)

Some groups are upset that New Bedford’s Park Board will begin assessing fees for use of city parks beginning in January. (Standard-Times)

The US Supreme Court has laid to rest a two-decade old Martha’s Vineyard land dispute by refusing an appeal from a couple to grant them easement across conservation and Native American property to their landlocked lot in Aquinnah. (Cape Cod Times)

Ice skating and vendors selling holiday wares will arrive on Boston’s long-derided City Hall Plaza on Friday as part of “Boston Winter,” the Walsh administration’s effort to bring life to the dreary expanse. (Boston Globe)

Tenant activists are looking for support from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for a “just-cause” eviction ordinance that would add new protections against landlords. (Boston Herald)

North Brookfield gives an initial OK to a marijuana growing facility. (Telegram & Gazette)


President-elect Donald Trump, who vowed to clean Washington of the Wall Street types who have had too much influence there, named former Goldman Sachs trader Steven Mnuchin his treasury secretary. (Boston Globe)

Telegram & Gazette columnist Dianne Williamson praises Mitt Romney for his willingness to work with Trump. “Rather than call him a pansy, I’d call that patriotic,” she writes.

The government Ethics Office put out a series of tweets praising Donald Trump for taking its advice to divest himself of his holdings, an action he hasn’t yet committed to publicly. (New York Times)

US Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has come out strongly against a bill she says has been hijacked by pharmaceutical interests, is getting pressure to relent from Massachusetts advocates for addiction treatment because the measure includes $1 billion to fight the opioid epidemic. (Boston Globe)

Sarah Palin has emerged as competition for former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown for the Veterans Administration cabinet post. (Boston Herald) Peter Gelzinis calls the duo “two of the most attractive and vacuous cabinet suggestions ever.” (Boston Herald)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was re-elected to her post despite a challenge that drew 63 votes, including those of Massachusetts Reps. Seth Moulton and Stephen Lynch. (Boston Herald)


Scott Brown alleges 100,000 Massachusetts residents, primarily college students, committed voter fraud by traveling north to vote in New Hampshire. (Masslive)


Giving Tuesday, the nonprofit answer to ease spending guilt over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, pulled in an estimated $168 million for charities around the country. (Chronicle of Philanthropy)


UMass Boston is moving ahead with across-the-board budget cuts to deal with a $29 million deficit. (State House News)

Marion officials are heading to court to fight a public records request and prevent the release of the name of an anonymous donor who has given $25,000 a year to an elementary school’s discretionary fund. (Standard-Times)

Quincy officials have begun the long and costly process of replacing 126 water fountains and sinks in the city’s schools that were found to have elevated levels of lead. (Patriot Ledger)

The co-chairman of a Mattapan community group fighting the Boston School Committee decision to close the Mattahunt Elementary School makes his case. (Dorchester Reporter)

Joan Vennochi says Donald Trump and Hampshire College are both wrong about the American flag. (Boston Globe)

Gloucester officials are investigating a brawl that took place between high school students from Gloucester and Danvers following a Thanksgiving Day football game won by Danvers. (Gloucester Times)


John McDonough explains how Donald Trump is going to dismantle Obamacare. (CommonWealth)

A couple that had driven to Lawrence from Vermont to buy heroin was found overdosed in their car along with their two children, who were 9 months and 27 months old. (Eagle-Tribune)

HUD officials announced a ban on smoking at all public housing around the country beginning early next year. (New York Times)


Climate change could make Britain a major wine producer. (Time)


A federal judge has granted a request by lawyers for two former Boston City Hall officials who are seeking more time to file motions to dismiss the case. They are awaiting a ruling in the federal appeals court on a case alleging union extortion that could have implications for their cases. (Boston Herald)

The family of a man killed in a 1993 mob murder Francis Salemme is now charged with talks about the case for the first time. (Boston Globe)

Prosecutors in North Carolina have declined to bring charges against a Charlotte police officer whose fatal shooting of a black man triggered days of riots in the southern city. (U.S. News & World Report)


How much disclosure about the author of an op-ed piece is necessary? (New York Times)

The Tulsa Frontier news websites ditches its paywall and goes nonprofit. (Nieman Journalism Lab)