Va. governor announces appointments to cannabis oversight boards

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 1:59 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam appointed new members to three oversight boards dedicated to recreational marijuana in the commonwealth.

Appointees will work with the Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Board, the Cannabis Public Health Advisory Board, and the Cannabis Control Authority, or CCA.

“There is a tremendous amount of work ahead to establish an adult-use marijuana market in our Commonwealth,” Northam said in a release, “and I am proud to appoint these talented Virginians who will bring diverse backgrounds, an incredible depth of expertise, and a shared commitment to public service to this important effort.”

The Cannabis Control Authority will regulate the cannabis market and implement regulations before cannabis can be sold in the state.

The five-member board is responsible for the creation of the cannabis marketplace and it has the control to regulate sale, transportation and distribution of marijuana products.

In the future, the board will develop a workforce, establish regulations, and ensure marijuana legalization accomplishes the health and equity goals established by law.

  • Neil Amin of Henrico will serve as chair
    • CEO of Shamin Hotels
    • Previously served on the Virginia Treasury Board, Virginia Small Business Financing Authority and the Advisory Council on Revenue Estimates
  • Michael Jerome Massie, Esq., of Portsmouth will serve as vice chair
    • Owner and trial lawyer with Michael Jerome Massie, PC
    • Previously practiced as the City of Portsmouth’s commonwealth’s attorney
  • Bette Brand of Roanoke will serve on the board
    • Served in several roles at the United States Department of Agriculture including deputy under secretary for Rural Development, administrator of Rural Business Cooperative Service, and acting administrator of Rural Utility Service
  • Rasheeda Creighton of Richmond and the Jackson Ward Collective will serve on the board
    • Co-founder of The Jackson Ward Collective and Founder and chief executive officer of The 3Fifty Group
  • Shane Emmett of Midlothian will serve on the board
    • Served as an attorney in the Office of the Counselor to Governor Tim Kaine and then co-founded and served as chief executive officer of Health Warrior, a superfood brand recently acquired by PepsiCo

The Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Board will manage the Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Fund, which will receive money from the 30% of tax revenue allocated from cannabis sales.

The fund’s projected revenue is $7.8-12.9 million in 2024 and upwards of $63.9 million in 2028.

The 20-person board will provide resources to communities that have experienced disproportionate enforcement of drug laws and economic disinvestment. It will support grants for workforce development, apprenticeship, reentry programs, and scholarships for historically marginalized individuals.

New members include:

  • Jorge Figueredo of Falls Church, serves as executive director of Edu-Futuro
  • Amari Harris of Richmond, serves as equity, diversity, and inclusion attorney, Virginia Indigent Defense Commission
  • W. Anthony West of Roanoke, serves as chief operations officer for Virginia Community Action Re-Entry System
  • Sheba Williams of Richmond, serves as executive director for Nolef Turns, Inc.
  • Vickie R. Williams-Cullins of Hampton, serves as executive director for OPN-Door Communications LLC

The Cannabis Public Health Advisory Board will monitor public health issues, trends and impacts related to marijuana legalization. This includes health warnings, retail product safety, public health awareness and more.

Current law gives the governor the authority to appoint four people to the council: a representative of a local health district, someone from the cannabis industry, an academic researcher knowledgeable about cannabis and a registered medical cannabis patient.

Appointees are as follows:

  • Ngiste Abebe of Richmond, serves as the vice president of public policy at Columbia Care
  • Larry Keen II of Petersburg, serves as an associate professor in the department of psychology at Virginia State University
  • Cynthia Morrow of Roanoke, serves as the health director for Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts
  • Marcus Treiber of Leesburg, serves as the chief executive officer of EMT Holdings, LLC

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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