Agency Head Announces Departure: What’s Next for Michigan’s Cannabis Industry

Yesterday, it became public that Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency Executive Director Andrew Brisbo will soon be leaving the agency.

Having spent nearly two decades working in licensing and regulation with the state of Michigan, Director Brisbo served with distinction as the first director of the Michigan Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation. Appointed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer to head the CRA in April 2019, Director Brisbo is credited for managing the state’s cannabis policy evolution and the rapid growth of the agency.

During his tenure, Brisbo carved out a role as the face of the CRA, and as a frequent speaker whose actions have reinforced Michigan’s position as a national leader in the cannabis space. Director Brisbo was also instrumental in establishing the Cannabis Regulators Association (CANNRA), a national organization of the regulators of more than 40 states and territorial jurisdictions. In 2021, Director Brisbo was elected president of CANNRA.

It is unknown at this time who will serve as CRA’s interim director. Appointment of a permanent successor will be made by the Governor and is subject to advice and consent of the Michigan Senate. The appointment is likely to await the results of the November election, as control of the Michigan Senate and the Governor’s office are at issue. Under Governor Whitmer’s watch, Michigan’s cannabis industry has seen explosive growth, although the market faces significant pressures from illicit product and oversupply. We expect the industry to advocate for greater enforcement against illegal operators, and believe Governor Whitmer is attentive to this concern. The views of Tudor Dixon, the Republican nominee for governor, are unknown, although Ms. Dixon has expressed support for aggressive enforcement of the state’s criminal laws.

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Lance Boldrey

R. Lance Boldrey’s practice focuses on tribal and commercial gaming, and on Indian law (with an emphasis on economic development and state-tribal relations). He represents tribes, developers, banks and other non-tribal businesses, as well as state and local governments, and is a frequent…

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