Here is their alert just in
To: LCB Licensees, Stakeholders and Interested Individuals
Fr: David Postman, Board Chair
Re: Board Hires William N. Lukela as Director of Liquor and Cannabis Board
On behalf of the board, I am writing to inform you that earlier today the board enthusiastically approved the hiring of the Liquor and Cannabis Board’s (LCB) new director, William “Will” Lukela. He will replace Rick Garza, who is retiring in July after 38 years of state service.
Lukela is currently the Deputy Chief of Licensing for the Colorado Dept. of Revenue, Marijuana Enforcement Division, a position he’s held since 2018. In that capacity he had oversight, management, supervision, and leadership of licensing staff including criminal and compliance investigators, section managers, licensing specialists, and business analysts assigned to headquarter and regional offices.
Will’s passion for leadership and his 30 years of regulatory experience, particularly in the enforcement and licensing fields, stood out to the board. He prides himself on his demonstrated record of building and maintaining productive relationships with licensees, stakeholders, and legislators, which is something the agency values and will continue to under his leadership. Will also showed a passion for team building and is committed to an open and positive relationship with LCB employees.
He is also experienced in large-scale regulatory initiatives similar to ones at the LCB. For example, under his leadership at the Colorado Dept. of Revenue he helped transition the Marijuana Enforcement Division from an enforcement philosophy to a philosophy focused on collaboration, education, and compliance, utilizing progressive discipline when appropriate. In addition, he is committed to, and engaged with, agency diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.
In the news release that will be issued later this afternoon, Will is quoted as saying “I am very excited to join my new colleagues at the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. As the two pioneering states in the legalization of adult-use cannabis, Washington and Colorado face similar challenges. I will continue to build on the impressive work of the agency across all regulated industries and pledge to work collaboratively with staff and stakeholders to build their trust and support through transparency.”
Will’s first day at the Liquor and Cannabis Board will be July 10, 2023. Between now and his start date, Rick will be providing some on-the-job mentorship to help smooth the transition. Once Will is on board, I am sure he be wanting to meet with interested legislators on our oversight committees as well as leadership of the various trade groups and stakeholders.
The board also wants to thank Rick for his years of service. He is leaving after 10 years as director and 25 years overall at the agency. The LCB is very much his agency as he steered it through massive changes in scope and responsibilities. Under his leadership as deputy director and director, he led the successful launch of legalized cannabis, oversaw the privatization of spirits distribution and retail as well as the quick implementation of allowances for licensees during the COVID restrictions that helped impacted businesses continue doing business. He is a good friend to us and to many of you as well.