Boston Globe ‘Potlight’ Team Is Less Than Frank

May 3, 2019

First, a disclaimer.

Yesterday’s Boston Globe Spotlight Team report on political influence in the Massachusetts Weed Bakeoff is a terrific piece of reporting.

Increasing their nut graf:

[S]o far, winning a license to sell pot in Massachusetts often seems to be determined by whom you know — or if you can afford to pay a lobbyist or consultant who knows people.

At least 12 of the 17 recreational pot stores open as of May 1 hired lobbyists or former politicians. The Boston Globe Spotlight Team obtained, through public records requests, thousands of e-mails relating to pot shop proposals in a host of communities. The fingerprints of influence peddlers — consultants, lawyers, lobbyists — are all over them.

This should be no surprise; it would be a surprise, in fact, if the influence business had taken a pass on the lucrative potential of pot. But the flood of former government officials coming into the pot business — including former governor and current presidential candidate William F. Weld, former state House speaker Thomas M. Finneran, former state senator Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr., former Boston city councilor Michael P. Ross and even former Boston police superintendent-in-chief Daniel Linskey — is striking.

 

Noticeably absent from that roll-your-own call: former Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank, even though the Globe itself recently noted his tokin’ contribution to the weedification of the Bay State.

Barney Frank joins local marijuana business

When it comes to marijuana, Barney Frank and Bill Weld were both decades ahead of the political curve.

Frank, the longtime former Massachusetts congressman, supported legalization when he was a state representative in the early 1970s. Weld, for his part, backed medical marijuana as the governor of Massachusetts in the early 1990s. (Neither proposal went anywhere.)

Now, it’s Frank who will follow in Weld’s footsteps by joining a marijuana company. But while Weld last year joined the board of a slick conglomerate with national ambitions, Frank is linking up with a decidedly less corporate operation: Beantown Greentown, a local group of underground growers, marketers, and event organizers — you may remember their 100-foot joint stunt — trying to go legit.

 

The hardreading staff is not at all sure why the Globe bogarted Barney in its otherwise impressive investigation.

But our interest is definitely high.


John Kerryoke’s Musical Chairs

November 13, 2012

It’s Post time at the local dailies in the race to cover the Obama administration’s national security team fire drill.

Both papers pick up a Washington Post story this morning. The Globe’s version, predictably, is lengthier.

Kerry may be choice for secretary of defense

Security shuffle follows Petraeus’s departure

WASHINGTON — President Obama is considering asking Senator John F. Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, to serve as his next defense secretary, part of an extensive rearrangement of his national security team that will include a permanent replacement for former CIA director David Petraeus.

Although Kerry is thought to covet the job of secretary of state, senior administration officials familiar with transition planning said that nomination will almost certainly go to Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the United Nations.

John Brennan, Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser, is a leading contender for the CIA job if he wants it, officials said. If Brennan goes ahead with his plan to leave government, Michael Morell, the agency’s acting director, is the prohibitive favorite to take over permanently. Officials cautioned that the White House discussions are in the early phases and that no decisions have been made.

The Herald pickup is much shorter (and massaged by reporter Joe Dwinell), but it includes something the Globe doesn’t: The Great Mentioner.

If Kerry goes to Defense, the scramble for his seat would quickly move U.S. Sen. Scott Brown back into the picture, or possibly former Gov. William F. Weld, a fellow Republican. On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep Edward J. Markey has been mentioned as a possible candidate. State Attorney General Martha Coakley could also take another shot at higher office.

Let the wild Special Election Rumpus begin!