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Chair of Massachusetts Cannabis Regulator Calls Suspension ‘Unlawful’ as She Launches Legal Challenge 

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The former chair of Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC), who was suspended last month, has now brought a legal challenge against her dismissal in a major escalation of the ongoing dispute.

Shannon O’Brien, a former state treasurer and one-time governor nominee, was selected by state treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg to lead the CCC last summer.

In mid-September, O’Brien was ‘suspended with pay’ by Goldberg, but the latter has until now remained tight-lipped about the reasons behind the abrupt suspension.

The Boston Globe reports that, according to statements made by Goldberg on Thursday (September 28), an investigation was launched into O’Brien after a number of ‘serious allegations’ were made against her by several colleagues.

After the outside investigators delivered their report to Goldberg, she suggested that ‘suspension with pay is the only allowable remedy at this point’, according to the CCC’s employee handbook.

The findings, which are now reportedly being reviewed by the CCC, alongside the initial allegations made against O’Brien are still unclear, with both parties refusing to divulge any information publicly.

Meanwhile, O’Brien has now issued a 17-page legal complaint against her suspension and has called on a judge to reinstate her.

O’Brien claims that she has ‘been subjected to the making of false and defamatory allegations… in an effort to force her removal’.

She also claimed that the agency has a strategy of using ‘baseless allegations in order to cause lengthy internal investigations that were designed to force resignations.’

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