9:15 | Attorney General Campbell delivers remarks at a maternal health policy forum hosted by the Mass. Association of Health Plans. Event includes a panel about solutions for improving maternal health outcomes with former Rep. Jamie Belsito, Dr. Thea James of Boston Medical Center, Sen. Liz Miranda, and Michele Wolfsberg. UMass Club, One Beacon St., Boston
9:45 | Treasurer Goldberg speaks at a government affairs forum hosted by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Bank of America, 100 Federal St., Boston.
10:00 | MBTA General Manager Eng holds press conference at the site of a temporary platform for the Lynn commuter rail station, slated to open in December which the MBTA says will be "nine months sooner than previously planned." 11 Ellis St., Lynn
12:30 | State-employed nurses and health care professionals unionized with the Massachusetts Nurses Association picket outside the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, 1 Ashburton Place, Boston.
1:30 | Mass. AFL-CIO kicks off its three-day Biennial Constitutional Convention, where attendees will hear from elected Democrats and are expected to select a new top leader. Encore Boston Harbor, 1 Broadway, Everett
A former Massachusetts cannabis regulator was among the leaders of a coalition that last week prodded President Joe Biden to make good on his year-old pledge to soften the federal government’s prohibition of marijuana, and offered three steps he could take to advance marijuana decriminalization.
In August, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended to the Drug Enforcement Agency that marijuana be moved out of “Schedule I” — which includes drugs determined to have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” — and shifted into the less tightly regulated “Schedule III.” But just rescheduling marijuana would not be enough, former Mass. Cannabis Control Commission member Shaleen Title, who founded the Parabola Center for Law and Policy after leaving the CCC at the end of 2020 and serves as its director, said.
“Virtually all medical and non-medical marijuana use that’s currently legal under state law would remain a criminal offense under rescheduling. And at the same time, rescheduling would open a new pathway to a legal national market that would basically only be accessible to pharmaceutical companies,” Title said last week when she and other drug policy experts joined forces as the United for Marijuana Decriminalization.
United for Marijuana Decriminalization proposed three specific steps Biden could take to fulfill his Oct. 6, 2022 pledge to “end this failed approach” to federal enforcement of marijuana prohibition. The coalition urged the Biden administration to issue guidance from the Department of Justice that deprioritizes prosecution for marijuana-based conduct, seeks reduced sentences and ends marijuana-related deportations, to expand pardons and commutations for marijuana offenses, and to explicitly support marijuana legalization with an emphasis on small businesses development and preventing monopolization of the industry.
“While the most straightforward solution would be to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act entirely, these are incremental steps that we can take now in the right direction and toward fulfilling the president’s promise,” Title said.
If the federal government does change its tone on marijuana, Title’s former colleagues at the CCC thinks Massachusetts could be well-positioned to take advantage. Executive Director Shawn Collins said last month that he thinks the current state of the Massachusetts marijuana market “bodes well” for Bay State businesses to eventually compete in “what could end up being an interstate commerce environment someday.”
Harvard president condemns Hamas atrocities — sort of
Harvard University President Claudine Gay, following growing criticism over her failure to condemn Saturday’s Hamas attacks in Israel, on Tuesday issued a qualified denunciation of the violence. Gay criticized “the terrorist atrocities perpetrated by Hamas,” adding a nuanced: “Such inhumanity is abhorrent, whatever one’s individual views of the origins of longstanding conflicts in the region.” Gay’s remarks came after a coalition of student groups blamed the attacks on Israel. — Boston Globe
Two of three Massachusetts colleges shrank over recent years
Some two-thirds of Massachusetts colleges reported smaller enrollments for the post-pandemic 2021-2022 academic year than they reported three years prior, the Boston Business Journal reported, citing federal data. The hit comes as higher education institutions already are grappling with a decline in the population of college-age Americans. The Business Journal reported that public institutions have been especially hard-hit. — Boston Business Journal
Durant wins Republican primary for open Senate seat
Longtime Spencer Rep. Peter Durant earned the Republican nod to seek the vacant Worcester & Hampshire District state senate, outpacing rival Bruce Chester in Tuesday’s preliminary. Durant will now face Rep. Jonathan Zlotnik of Gardner on Nov. 7 in what is widely seen as one of the GOP’s best recent opportunities to add to its ranks on Beacon Hill. — Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Latest data shows rising office vacancy, but more leasing in industrial and life sciences
A report from real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield for the third quarter of 2023 in the Boston area showed that warehouses, distribution and life sciences space is in greater demand but demand for office space is softening. In the industrial and warehousing sectors, leasing activity is growing quarter-over-quarter, but below historic averages, Boston Real Estate Times reported. A Cushman & Wakefield executive said Cambridge remains the top market or life sciences space. Office vacancies continue to rise, according to the report. — Boston Real Estate Times
Taking a breather: Barnstable council pauses action on wind projects
The Barnstable Town Council is pausing local action related to the Park City Wind and Commonwealth Wind offshore wind projects, citing uncertainty over their viability after developers backed out of deals with utilities to purchase the power the projects would generate. — Cape Cod Times
Police chiefs group formally opposes House gun bill
The Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association says its members unanimously voted to oppose the wide-ranging gun law reform bill that was the subject of a heated legislative hearing on Tuesday. The group says the state’s gun laws are already tough enough and largely work. — Boston Globe
Healey administration housing tactics emerging
The administration of Gov. Maura Healey will enact more than 20 policy changes to increase the supply of housing, Housing and Livable Communities Secretary Ed Augustus recently told representatives of the business community. He said the administration will approach the problem with “more of a scalpel than a meat cleaver,” State House News Service, which heard a recording of the talk, reported. Among the challenges Augustus cited was that would-be first-time homebuyers face overwhelming competition from well-funded rivals. — State House News Service
Lawmakers hear from care-giving grandparents
State lawmakers Tuesday heard from grandparents struggling with the demands of caring for their children’s children, especially fears they won’t be able to fund their college educations. A Legislative committee is weighing a bill that would provide free tuition and fees to state colleges and universities to young people being raised by family members other than their parents. The state already provides free public higher education for children in the foster care system. — State House News Service
Bay State gets $1B from feds for roads, bridges
The U.S. Department of Transportation says it is sending Massachusetts another $1 billion in federal funds generated by the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help fix roads, replace bridges and for efforts aimed at reducing carbon emission — Gloucester Times
Massachusetts lawmaker dons National Guard uniform to help with immigrant influx
State Sen. John Velis, a Democrat from Westfield, was among state National Guard members called up to help the state deal with the recent surge in immigration. Some 3,000 families are living in hotels or motels subsidized by the state. The Boston Globe reported that a spokesman for Velis would not say what he’s doing or for how long he’ll be in uniform and the Guard did not return a call seeking comment. — Boston Globe
Greater Boston bakeries and cafes lead nation in business recovery
Cafes and bakeries in and around Boston are enjoying growth in business that surpasses that of peers anywhere else in the county, Axios Boston reported, citing data from transaction-processor Toast. One reason, Axios reported, appears to be the return of workers to their offices and favorite coffee haunts. The year-over-year sales increase for the sector for the second calendar quarter of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022 was 6 percent. — Axios Boston