BOSTON — Auditor Suzanne Bump on Wednesday panned the idea of giving oversight of the burgeoning legal marijuana market to an independent authority akin to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, questioning the model put in place six years ago to oversee the expansion of legal gambling.
“Bad idea,” Bump said during an appearance on Boston Herald Radio, gasping as the host brought up the topic of putting legal marijuana regulation under an independent authority.
A new committee formed earlier this year to review and recommend changes to the ballot law passed in 2016 legalizing the adult use of marijuana has been openly considering whether to strip oversight from Treasurer Deborah Goldberg’s office and pursue a different model.
Some officials, including Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, have suggested the model used by legislators to license and oversee the creation of a casino industry could work with marijuana as well.
Bump, a Democrat, disagrees.
“I haven’t seen anything so all I’m going on is what I hear, and the Gaming Commission is responsible to no one. To no one. There’s no oversight of what they do. It’s not a good model,” she said.
Bump said that the not only does the Gaming Commission have its own revenue stream from the companies it licenses to operate gaming facilities, but she said there’s no check on how they spend that money.
“They have a board that’s supposed to ensure that everything is done according to the law and to regulation but it’s questionable whether that’s actually happening,” Bump said.
The Gaming Commission was established under the 2011 expanded Gaming Law to implement and oversee the licensing and operation of one slots parlor and up to three casinos. Plainridge Park Casino, a slots parlor, opened in 2015 and two casinos – one in Springfield