News Briefs: Marijuana cultivation, manufacturing discussions; Harrington responds to Barr; Citizens Legislative Seminar
GB Selectboard to discuss marijuana cultivation, manufacturing in upcoming meetings
Great Barrington — The Great Barrington Selectboard will discuss and vote on matters related to a proposed marijuana cultivation and manufacturing facility by Fulcrum Enterprises LLC at 22 VanDeusenville Road in Housatonic in a two-step process.
A host community agreement will be reviewed Monday, Aug. 26, at 7 p.m. This agreement does not give the applicant approval for cultivation and manufacturing, it simply identifies the terms and conditions between the town and the applicant if a permit to operate is approved by the town and the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission.
An application for a special permit to operate on a 5.78-acre parcel located in an industrial zoning district will be reviewed at an advertised public hearing scheduled for Monday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m. This meeting is an opportunity for abutters and residents to hear a formal proposal and speak on the application.
Both meetings will take place at Town Hall, 334 Main St. All are welcome to attend.
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Harrington joins criminal justice leaders to denounce Barr’s attack on reform-minded prosecutors
Pittsfield — Wednesday, Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington joined with 67 other criminal justice leaders from around the country on a statement blasting remarks made by U.S. Attorney General William Barr. His remarks distorted the aim and efficacy of criminal justice reform efforts undertaken by her office and other prominent reform-minded prosecutors.
In their joint statement, the current and former prosecutors, law enforcement, Department of Justice and judicial leaders corrected the factual inaccuracies in Barr’s remarks and cautioned against a return to past failed approaches.
In his speech, Barr stated that reform-minded prosecutors who are driving new data-backed approaches to criminal justice that have proven to be effective in decreasing incarceration and promoting public safety are “anti-law enforcement.”
“The ‘tough on crime approach’ has not been successful nationally nor has it been successful here in Berkshire County. Attorney General Barr has a responsibility to properly educate and inform the public about efforts being taken by elected officials to positively change the criminal justice system. Instead, he chose to use his platform to further divide the country,” Harrington said.
In the letter, justice reform experts wrote: “We support and applaud the work of fellow law enforcement colleagues, prosecutors, judges and other dedicated public servants who comprise America’s justice system. Everyday men and women in uniform risk their lives to protect our communities and embrace their role as “guardians” of the public’s trust; we are grateful for their courage and sacrifice. Our respect for these brave colleagues does not come at the cost of our respect for the truth or justice. Nor does it suggest that we should ignore lessons learned from decades of failed approaches.”
The statement concludes by saying: “Our nation is on the road to meaningful and lasting criminal justice reform — as reflected in the bipartisan passage of the First Step Act and other changes sweeping the country. It is not the time for a return to fear-driven narratives that find no foundation in fact. We hope that Attorney General Barr and other national leaders will understand what facts, data, and lessons learned from the past have taught us as we work to wisely use limited criminal justice resources to promote safer and stronger communities.”
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Hinds seeks applicants for Citizens’ Legislative Seminar
Boston — Sen. Adam G. Hinds, D-Pittsfield, has announced that he is accepting resumes from constituents interested in attending the 83rd Citizens’ Legislative Seminar to be held Tuesday, Oct. 22, and Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the Massachusetts State House. The CLS is a semi-annual educational seminar geared toward adults of all ages interested in learning more about state government and the legislative process.
Established in 1976 through a collaborative effort of the Massachusetts Senate and UMass Boston, the two-day seminar features engaging presentations by state senators and staff on aspects of the day-to-day experience of legislators in the Commonwealth. Topics will include the history and process of the Legislature, the state budget, the parliamentary role of the Clerk of the Senate, and the future of the Legislature. The seminar will walk participants through the legislative process including how bills are introduced, debated and passed. The CLS culminates with a simulated legislative hearing and Senate session where participants are invited to use what they have learned and participate as “senators” in the Senate Chamber in order to have a first-hand experience of the legislative process.
Each senator is able to nominate and sponsor one constituent and an alternate to attend the CLS. Interested residents who live in Hinds’ Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden District are asked to email their resume to his chief of staff, Bethann Steiner, by noon Monday, Aug. 26, at Bethann.Steiner@masenate.gov. Those wishing to participate must be able to attend both days of the seminar. Attendees are responsible for their own travel and lodging arrangements.