Illinois’ top cannabis official Toi Hutchinson leaves post to head national lobbying group MPP

The top marijuana official in Illinois, Toi Hutchinson, is leaving her state job to work for the national lobbying group that led the push to legalize cannabis in the state.

Hutchinson, who was Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s senior adviser for cannabis control, stepped down to become president and CEO of the Marijuana Policy Project, or MPP, which took credit for writing much of the legalization law in Illinois.

Hutchinson had been a state senator from Olympia Fields, representing the south suburbs from 2009 to 2019. As a lawmaker, she worked with the MPP to write and pass the statute that legalized the sale and possession of recreational cannabis for adults, which became effective in 2020.

Initially, Pritzker’s office announced that he had appointed her to become cannabis regulation oversight officer, informally dubbed the pot czar.

But giving her the job created by legislation she voted on could have violated the state constitution. The constitution bars members of the General Assembly from being appointed to a public office created by state lawmakers in that same term.

Then-Sen. Toi Hutchinson speaks June 25, 2019, before Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law a bill to legalize marijuana in Illinois starting in 2020.
Then-Sen. Toi Hutchinson speaks June 25, 2019, before Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law a bill to legalize marijuana in Illinois starting in 2020. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune)

So when Hutchinson started work for the administration in November 2019, it was as senior adviser to the governor, with a salary of $220,000. Officials said she gave back campaign contributions she’d received from the cannabis industry.

Instead, Danielle Perry was appointed as cannabis regulation oversight officer to report to Hutchinson.

Read more at  https://www.chicagotribune.com/marijuana/illinois/ct-illinois-marijuana-pot-czar-leaves-20211215-4bqdfw426jhpfkcq65kdwq653a-story.html

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