Henry Thomas, III appointed to Cannabis Advisory Board

Board will make recommendations on taxation and regulation of marijuana

Henry Thomas, III is seen here in this WWLP file image from 2013.

BOSTON (WWLP) – A well-known community leader in Springfield has been named by Governor Charlie Baker to serve on the panel that will make recommendations on the regulation of marijuana. Henry M. Thomas, III is one of five people Baker selected to serve on the Cannabis Advisory Board.

The board was created as a result of legislation signed into law last week, amending the state’s voter-approved marijuana law. It is their job to report to the Cannabis Control Commission after studying how to best tax and regulate legal marijuana in the state. Under the law, the commission consists of 25 members, five of whom are appointed by the governor, with five each appointed by the treasurer and the attorney general, with the remaining 10 being “ex-officio members with expertise and knowledge relevant to the Board’s mission,” including the superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, and representatives from the ACLU.

Under the law, the governor’s appointees are chosen to incorporate experts in the areas of: municipal law enforcement, minority business development, employers, farming, and economic development for under-resourced communities- the last being the field for which Thomas was selected.

Thomas has led the Urban League of Springfield since 1974, and had been vice president of the National Urban League. He also served as the chair of several major boards, including the former Springfield Police and Fire commissions and the University of Massachusetts system.

Thomas is not the only local selection for the board, Attorney General Maura Healey selected Tessa Murphy-Romboletti of the Greater Holyoke Chamber Centennial Foundation’s entrepreneurship program, as well as Ray Berry, the founder of Springfield-based White Lion Brewing.

The governor’s other appointees are Walpole Police Chief John Carmichael, Jr. (municipal law enforcement), labor attorney Kim Napoli (minority business development), business consultant Mary Ann Pesce (employers), and urban farming advocate Lydia Sisson (farming).