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    Monday, March 04, 2024

    Court documents: Racist remarks cited before cannabis regulator's suspension

    Boston — Massachusetts' top cannabis regulator made race-based and “culturally insensitive” remarks, including referring to Asian people as “yellow," before she was suspended, according to court documents.

    The allegations against Shannon O'Brien were included in a court filing she made in her Suffolk County Superior Court lawsuit against Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, who suspended her as chair of the state’s Cannabis Control Commission. O'Brien also defended herself from the accusations, which were not previously public.

    O’Brien, a former state treasurer and one-time Democratic nominee for governor, said she wants a fair hearing process.

    "After a long career in public service, I deserve a legitimate opportunity and not a sham process, to defend my good name and reputation, which has been unfairly maligned,” she said.

    Goldberg issued a statement in September saying she suspended O’Brien based on “several serious allegations” in a report compiled by an outside law firm.

    But there were no details until court filings Friday by O'Brien, who is seeking to delay an upcoming private meeting to challenge her suspension. She contends the closed-door process is unfair.

    Howard Cooper, one of O'Brien's attorneys, said Goldberg is afraid to hold a public hearing with witnesses and cross-examination “to show the lack of merit of this so-called process.” He also said the court filings indicate “any allegation of racial insensitivity is frivolous in the extreme.”

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