Amherst town official tapped to examine recreational cannabis use 


Staff Writer
Friday, March 08, 2019

AMHERST — A member of the Town Council who has been at the forefront of helping to set the state’s adult-use marijuana policy will be part of a nine-member working group that will examine the future of on-site consumption of cannabis products at marijuana establishments.

Alisa Brewer, an at-large councilor Amherst, is one of four representatives from western Massachusetts who will serve on the Cannabis Control Commission’s social consumption working group.

In a statement of interest, Brewer wrote, “I believe Amherst is very interested in any pilot program implementing and regulating social consumption establishments.” She noted her experience in helping to craft both general and zoning bylaws enabling safe and deliberate adult use in a town where nearly two-thirds of residents are under the age of 25.

Brewer added that her “experiences have shown I will effectively and regularly communicate both goals and practices throughout the Town of Amherst organization, as well as to Western Massachusetts.”

The others joining her from the region are Springfield City Councilor Michael Fenton, North Adams Mayor Thomas Bernard and Helen Caulton-Harris, commissioner of the Division of Health and Human Services based in Springfield.

On Oct. 18, the commission unanimously approved creating the working group “to collaboratively establish a framework for a pilot program regulating marijuana establishments allowing on-site consumption of cannabis for the consideration of the Legislature, commission staff and municipalities who wish to participate.”

During its work, the panel is supposed to get feedback submitted to the commission from the Cannabis Advisory Board and other public health experts, public safety experts, legal experts, prospective entrepreneurs, and others.

The other members of the working group include Provincetown Assistant Town Manager David Gardner, Doug Kress, director of health and human services in Somerville, Alex Mello, a planner in Somerville and two Cannabis Control Commission members, including chairman Steven Hoffman and commissioner Shaleen Title.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.