Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Attorney Presents as the Guest Speaker at Emerson College


Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Attorney Karis North was a recent guest speaker at Emerson College’s class on Leadership, which analyzes effective and ethical leadership, and discusses issues of equity and diversity in selecting leaders.  Attorney North spoke to the class of juniors and seniors, and answered their questions about developing leadership skills, best practices for leading organizations and public bodies, and the challenges faced by women leaders.  She is a senior attorney with MHTL’s Municipal and Public Law group, where she advises cities and towns on all aspects of governance, and provides trainings on leadership and sound board practices to public entities.  She is currently the Chair of the Plymouth County Commission on the Status of Women, and a Director of the Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association, where she chairs the Bylaws, Policies, and Procedures committee. Formerly, Attorney North served as the Chair of the Governance Committee of the Vermont Law School Board of Trustees, and was President of the Vermont Law School Alumni Association.


Karis L. North has been practicing municipal and public sector law since 2006 and has over twenty years of experience counseling and resolving complex disputes for public clients. She is also an experienced litigator on behalf of municipalities and municipal agencies, private parties, and non-profit organizations. Her practice is focused on counseling and advocacy on behalf of municipal governments and agencies.  She provides representation and advice in the areas of municipal governance, public records and open meeting law, regulatory and environmental counseling and enforcement, real estate transfers and transactions, affordable housing, land use and planning, conflicts of interest, and town meetings. Ms. North has a B.S. from Cornell University and received her J.D. cum laude from Vermont Law School, where she was the Managing Editor of the Vermont Law Review.  She is admitted to practice in state and federal courts in Massachusetts, in the state of Maryland, and before the Supreme Court of the United States.

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Legal Updates


On August 12, 2022, Governor Charlie Baker signed S. 3096, “An act relative to equity in the cannabis industry,” (“Act”) into law. The Act reforms Massachusetts’s existing marijuana laws, particularly with respect to host community agreements (“HCAs”), community impact fees (“CIFs”), and social consumption sites (e.g. marijuana cafes). The Act empowers the Cannabis Control Commission (“Commission”), the state regulatory agency, to exert greater control over HCAs and their CIFs. Municipalities levy CIFs on cannabis businesses to account for the costs they impose on the municipality as a result of their operations. Additionally, the Act allows municipalities to permit on-premises social consumption of marijuana at designated sites. Other notable provisions of the Act include the new Social Equity Trust Fund (“Trust Fund”), changes to the tax law regarding cannabis businesses, and various provisions concerning those persons and communities most impacted by the prior illegality of marijuana usage and sale. Governor Baker vetoed only one section of the final bill: the provision calling on the state to conduct a study of medical marijuana usage in schools.

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