Senator Jason Lewis Appointed Chair of Senate Special Committee on Marijuana

Senator Jason Lewis has been appointed by Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg to serve as the Chair of the Senate’s newly created Special Committee on Marijuana for the 2015-2016 legislative term.

Given the expectation that an initiative petition to legalize marijuana in Massachusetts may be on the ballot in the 2016 election, following the direction that a number of other states across the country have taken in recent years, the purpose of the Senate Special Committee on Marijuana is to be proactive in researching and analyzing potential ramifications if Massachusetts were to move in that direction.

The special committee will review Massachusetts’ experience to date with changes in marijuana policy, as well as lessons to be learned from other states, particularly Colorado, that have already legalized marijuana.  This review will consider a wide variety of information on relevant issues, including public health, public safety, economic and financial impacts, regulatory frameworks, and compliance with federal law.

“I look forward to commencing the work of the committee in undertaking an in-depth and comprehensive review of the best available data and evidence concerning the potential impacts, costs, and benefits of marijuana legalization,” said Senator Lewis.  “I commend Senate President Stan Rosenberg for his leadership in seeking to proactively address this important issue.”

“As Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health, Senator Lewis’ experience and knowledge of public health issues will allow him to take an in-depth look at the issues surrounding both medical and recreational marijuana.  This is an issue that is changing quickly in the public landscape, and we as a legislature need to be proactive about learning as much as we can about the issues surrounding marijuana,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg.  “Senator Lewis has the work ethic, intellect, and knowledge to take on this task, and I look forward to the results of the committee.”

In addition to his role as Chair of the Senate Special Committee on Marijuana, Senator Lewis also serves in a leadership capacity as Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health and Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Steering and Policy.  Additionally, Senator Lewis serves as a member of the Joint Committees on Education; Labor and Workforce Development; and, Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities; as well as the Senate Post Audit and Oversight Committee.