Gov. Phil Murphy last week announced his final appointees to the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. But among five commissioners and an executive director, the commission includes a Black woman but no Black men, nor a representative the NAACP says clearly meets a statutory requirement.
“The NAACP is very concerned because we have been at the forefront for marijuana legalization and decriminalization since the beginning,” said Richard Smith, president of the state NAACP conference.
He noted that the original legalization bill did not include outright social justice provisions. “We have fought to ensure that broad social justice aspects were going to be the part of this.
The NAACP sent a letter outlining its concerns to a member of Murphy’s administration Monday. It requests “all documents that identify the qualifications of the member or members of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission that qualify for the position.”
CLR checked the NJ NAACP state website and as yet no press release or copy of the letter has been published to the site with regard to the issue
Pix11 have the most detail on the existing commissioners
Who runs the Cannabis Regulatory Commission?
Dianna Houenou was named commissioner back in November. Houenou, a Trenton resident, is a cannabis legalization advocate who also served as a senior policy adviser and associate counsel to Gov. Murphy. Prior to that, she worked as a policy council with the New Jersey chapter of the ACLU, where she “developed legislative strategies for ACLU-NJ advocacy campaigns and led the organization’s coalitions advocating for marijuana legalization and Newark police reform.”
Houenou was one of Gov. Murphy’s three direct appointments.
Jeff Brown was named executive director of the commission in November. A Mercer County native, Brown is the assistant commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health, overseeing the department’s medical marijuana division.
Prior to working for the state, Brown worked extensively on the passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, particularly the creation of health insurance exchanges and the expansion of Medicaid.
What do the chairperson and executive director do?
According to a spokesperson for Murphy, commissioners are responsible for governance. They will approve regulations and other key actions of the Commission, provide strategic direction, and be responsible for holding public meetings with stakeholders. The chair will lead those efforts.
The executive director is responsible for administration, operations and execution of that strategic direction and corresponding regulations. All staff report up to the executive director.
Who else is on the Cannabis Regulatory Commission?
The other four members were rounded out with appointments made Thursday by Gov. Murphy.
Krista Nash was named to the commission in November upon the recommendation of Speaker Coughlin. Nash is a long-time social justice advocate. She currently serves as Program Director of the PROMISE program at Volunteers of America Delaware Valley and previously served as a mentor at Oaks Integrate Care and Transitions for Youth. Additionally she serves on the Camden County Addiction Awareness Task Force.
On Thursday, Gov. Murphy appointed Maria Del Cid and William Wallace to the CRC and appointed Sam Delgado as a member on the recommendation of Senate President Sweeney.
Del Cid currently serves as the director of oolicy and legislative services at the New Jersey Department of Health, where she serves as a liaison with the governor’s office and to the legislature.
Wallace is the director of the professional division of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union Local 342, where he also serves on the executive board. Wallace previously worked as a Pharmacist-In-Charge at several pharmacies across the state of New Jersey.
Delgado most recently served as vice president of external affairs for Verizon, a position from which he retired in 2019. Before retiring, Mr. Delgado was responsible for managing the allocation of grants, supporting Verizon’s philanthropic endeavors, and furthering Verizon’s environmental commitments.
Further details at. https://pix11.com/news/local-news/new-jersey/what-is-new-jerseys-cannabis-regulatory-commission/#:~:text=What%20is%20the%20Cannabis%20Regulatory,the%20Garden%20State%20since%202010.