A coalition of government marijuana regulators that works to inform cannabis policymaking has announced new leadership, while touting the expansion of its membership across the U.S. and, for the first time, internationally.
As more state and territory marijuana markets come online and lawmakers across the country continue to advance reform, the Cannabis Regulators Association (CANNRA) on Friday unveiled its new board members who were voted in this week.
Here are the state cannabis regulators who will sit on CANNRA’s new board:
• President: Will Tilburg, Director, Maryland Cannabis Administration
• President-Elect: Dominique Mendiola, Senior Director, Colorado Marijuana Enforcement
• Past-President: Tyler Klimas, Executive Director, Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board
• Board Member At Large: Adria Berry, Executive Director, Oklahoma Medical Marijuana
• Board Member At Large: Nicole Elliott, Director, California Department of Cannabis Control
• Board Member At Large: Chris Tholkes, Director, Minnesota Office of Medical Cannabis
• Board Member At Large: Andrew Turnage, Executive Director, Georgia Access to Medical
“The 2023-2024 CANNRA board is a great mix of our diverse CANNRA member states and territories in terms of policies, politics, people and place,” CANNRA Executive Director Gillian Schauer said in a press release. “The board will benefit from the experience of veteran board members who have served on the CANNRA board before, as well as the new ideas and engagement that will come from new members.”
Friday’s announcement comes on the heels of the organization’s external stakeholder meeting in Maryland, where members engaged with a range of businesses and advocates and discussed their work to guide regulatory policies. Some invited guests, including former Massachusetts cannabis regulator Shaleen Title, declined to attend the meeting in protest of the fact that a cannabis group funded by major alcohol and tobacco companies was participating.
“As regulators and stakeholders sit down to hash out the framework for legalizing marijuana nationally, they must not pull up a chair for smelly old Joe Camel,” Title wrote in an op-ed for Marijuana Moment.
In any case, CANNRA itself—which does not take a position on legalization—noted in the new release that it has continued to onboard members in recent months, with a total of 45 U.S. states and territories now being represented. Also, it created a non-voting international category and welcomed Canada’s cannabis regulatory agency to its coalition.
“It’s a critical time for cannabis regulators with ongoing federal policy debates that stand to impact states and territories, and ongoing challenges on the regulatory front,” Past-President Tyler Klimas said. “This board is well positioned to help CANNRA navigate this landscape.”
Tilburg, the incoming president of the organization who has served as a Maryland marijuana regulator for the past five years, said that CANNRA has “become a respected, nonpartisan voice helping to shape state, federal, and international cannabis policy and regulation” since its founding in 2020.
“I look forward to continuing the build on the mission in my role as president,” Tilburg, whose state is set to launch adult-use cannabis sales on Saturday, said.
“As an association of state regulators who have led and navigated novel issues and worked hard to fill gaps in the absence of a federal framework, it’s been an honor to learn from and support colleagues across the nation,” Mendiola, the new president-elect, said. “I’m inspired by the progress we’ve made to date and am prepared to lean into this opportunity in a manner that further supports and enhances the incredible influence of our association.”
Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.