Treasurer Deb Goldberg looks to make pot golden for state

The Massachusetts treasurer wants to keep the regulatory reins over the nascent marijuana industry.

Boston-4/20/16- State Treasurer Deb Goldberg in her State House office. The treasure's office would become the chief pot regulator if marijuana is legalized. Boston Globe staff Photo by John Tlumacki (metro)
John Tlumacki/Globe Staff/File
State Treasurer Deb Goldberg is at the center of the raging debate over who should regulate pot in Massachusetts and how.

Massachusetts Treasurer Deb Goldberg has no problem admitting it: “When I got sworn in, I had no idea about marijuana.” Two years later, Goldberg is nonetheless at the epicenter of the raging debate over who should regulate pot and how. The recreational marijuana ballot question approved by voters last November made the treasurer the state’s top pot regulator, but state legislators have suggested they intend to reassign the job, perhaps to an independent commission.

Now, Goldberg — whose political style is closer to earnest competence than brash spotlight-seeking — is changing her own game, striking an increasingly defiant tone as she fights to retain oversight. Her office is ready to go after more than a year of preparations, Goldberg argues, and switching up the system will only delay the opening of marijuana shops and the resulting marijuana tax windfall. “Marijuana is going to move forward regardless, but the longer it takes to execute, the longer it will take to create revenues for the state,” she says. “Almost 1.8 million people voted to put marijuana under the treasurer’s office. I work for them.

“Sometimes you have to remind yourself of that.”


Dan Adams is a Globe staff writer. Send comments to Follow us on Twitter @BostonGlobeMag.