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State Guidance with Andrew Lelling & Charlie Baker Article

Governor Charlie Baker plans to meet with US Attorney Andrew Lelling next month, and the governor thinks state and federal law enforcement priorities could converge on cracking down on the illicit marijuana market.

At the state level, where marijuana has been legalized for medical and other uses, stamping out the black market trade could bolster the regulated sale of the intoxicant, the governor said.

“Once we have a regulated legal market here we should want to prosecute and go after people who continue to engage in this product illegally. If you talk to the folks in Colorado, they’ll tell you that one of their big problems is they still have an enormous black market, and some of that black market’s being supported by some of the legal market, and I think one of the things we should make sure is that the legal market is the market,” Baker told co-hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan during his regular “Ask the Governor” segment on WGBH radio.

A big unanswered question for Massachusetts policymakers and pot purveyors has been whether Lelling will prosecute businesses that sell marijuana in the state-regulated system. While saying he has limited resources to fight illegal activity, Lelling threw a curveball into the market this month when he noted cultivation, distribution, and possession is a federal crime, and said he can’t assure immunity to anyone in the state-level marijuana trade.