As a result of New Jersey residents voting in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana, Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) announced two appointments to the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Committee.
Senior Policy Advisor and Associate Counsel Dianna Houenou will serve as commission chair and the Department of Health Assistant Commissioner Jeff Brown will serve as the commission’s executive director, according to a press release.
In her current position, Houenou advises on issues pertaining to criminal justice, military and veterans, community affairs and immigrants’ rights, among other things, according to the release. She has also been involved in establishing New Jersey’s Office of New Americans and furthering the administration’s focus on criminal justice.
As part of the New Jersey Department of Health, Brown oversees the state’s Division of Medicinal Marijuana, according to the release. Under his leadership, the number of patients has increased from 17,000 to more than 95,000 and the number of participating physicians and dispensaries has increased.
Krista Nash, program director of the PROMISE program at Volunteers of America Delaware Valley, will also serve as a member of the commission, due to the recommendation from New Jersey’s Senate President Steve Sweeney, according to the release.
The purpose of the committee will be to regulate New Jersey’s medical marijuana industry, as well as to oversee the state’s recreational marijuana industry once it is established, according to the release.
"Once we have the commission in place, we can move forward with the legalization process that will deliver social justice reforms and create a new business sector that offers economic opportunities,” said Sweeney, according to the release. “The commission will have the responsibility of creating the organizational and regulatory system to oversee the safe use of cannabis products by adults. They will play an important role in guiding New Jersey’s leadership role in the reform process.”